Yes, you showed us yours. But now we’re showing you ours. It’s only fair. There are plenty of places for cheap eats in town – mostly at lunch, but increasingly, in these cash strapped times, for a post-work fill up too. We agree with many of your suggestions – thanks. It’s interesting to note the geographical spread of the cost-conscious chow down. Not so many cheap options at the Albert Dock. Liverpool ONE? Well that’s fine for chain branch tit-bits, and the Baltic Triangle? Well, we expect great things when Camp and Furnace comes into its stride soon enough. For the best options, it seems to be the edges of town, Ropewalks, the business quarter and – naturally – around the University. Here’s our starters for ten, all offering substantial, filling and tasty scran for a fiver or less. We’ve not been up to Mello Mello since they’ve invested in their kitchen, but we’ve heard great things – same with Luche Libre, and we’re on our way to both, excitedly. These, then, are places we have eaten in…
19 North John Street
Curries, pizzas, flame grilled chicken and Iranian BBQ-style kebabs – Shiraz mightn’t be the most sophisticated joint in town, but if it’s filling, fresh and simple you’re after – and black coffee to knock your socks off, this North John Street institution won’t let you down. Great breakfasts too. Mains from £2.95.
Delicious home bakes, quiches, stews and pies served in the hushed and really rather gorgoeous Welsford Porch of the Liverpool Cathedral. Try their Cathedral Scouse and tell us that there’s not been some divine intervention in the kitchens. Mains from £4.50
Ma Boyle’s Oyster Bar
Tower Gardens, Off Water Street
Seafood chowder and chat is the order of the day in this gem of a city centre pub, tucked into the sinewy passageway leading to St Nicholas’ Church. Within its cosy sub-ground level bars you’ll find a decent pint or two, daily specials and pub grub such as gammon and egg, fish cakes and pea and ham soup. Mains from £3.95.
Rapid Hardware, Williamson Square
Hidden on the second floor of the venerable old George Henry Lees store is this little gem – full of fresh, home coooked fare, gossipy old ladies and a nice touch of nostalgia: like you’re walking into TJ Hughes’ restaurant sometime in the mid seventies. That’s not to say the food’s stale and past it: our fish buttie (£4.95) was delicious. Worth a trip.
Ship and Mitre
Liverpool’s premier free house is also Liverpool’s best home-made burger joint too. The Ship and Mitre’s galley takes premium steak mince, seasoning and – if you fancy it – stuffs it with vintage mature cheddar, and grills the best burgers this side of Boston. Vension, bison and lamb burgers (and veggie) options too. Don’t like burgers? (what’s wrong with you?) Pan fried halloumi with mango salsa’s just £3.50.
There are other restaurants on Rodney Street. But none quite so charming – or welcoming as this little slice of Extramadura, squeezed between the surgeries and design HQs at the top of town. Everything’s good here, but for a fast and filling lunch you could do far worse than the salt cod fishcakes or the devilishly filling Portuguese tortilla with salad: a snip at £3.95.
P and D’s Deli
A classic modern Italian deli, right on Williamson Square and already with a huge legion of fans. And we can see why – fast, fuss-free lunches, friendly service and great value snacks elevate this place from most of the city’s so-called delis. Try their panino Genoese and aubergine croque: a substantial chunk of toasted focaccia, with a fresh mozzarella, pesto and mushrooms filling, and you’ll not need to refuel til dinner. £3.
Head of Steam,
Lime Street Station
Hearty’s the best word we can use to describe the dependable pots of stews, burgers, steaks and pies you’ll find at this convivial station bar. Food isn’t bought in, but cooked fresh on the premises and the Grand Hall really does evoke a touch of the golden age of travel. And you don’t get that at the gyratory.
If it’s good enough for Kate, it’s good enough for us. Actually, we loved it before it got royal approval: especially their hangover-trouncing all day breakfast (£4.95), and their freshly squeezed vitamin hits (who needs berocca when you can have your vitamin C straight from the fruit?). Hummous, tapas, frittatas and vibrant salads all come in at under a fiver too.
Arrad Street, Behind the Everyman
Fantastically fresh, huge portions, mezes, hummous, Soujouk, spicy beef and lamb sausages (£3.50) Kibbeh Makleih – A blend of lightly spiced minced lamb and herbs in a crispy deep filled wheat parcel (£3.50). This is your real pre-theatre treat, and the best of a growing selection of excellent middle eastern eateries in town. The world in one city? We’re eating our way through it, plate by plate (main pic).