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Recommendations needed for Liverpool, Leeds, Leicester, and Cardiff


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More travel is in the offing, with the opportunity to do it on other people's money (OPM).

Tentatively, there should be two days in Liverpool, two in Leeds, a lunch in Leicester, and a lunch in Cardiff.

Where is recommended? I'll probably be near the universities in all cases, and reliant up taxis, so nothing too far afield, please.

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Liverpool, over the river to fraiche, £10 -15 taxi from town centre. worth it, modern cusine

Leeds, anthony's (modern) , no 3 york place (bistro moderne), la grillade (french brasserie), piazza by anthony (casual, all day english 'brasserie', red chilli (szechuan chinese), akbars/aagrah (indian). all central

plenty of threads on here for all of them / their web sites

Edited by Gary Marshall (log)

you don't win friends with salad

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Definitely Fraiche, also The London Carriage Works on Hope Street and 60 Hope Street.

If you get as far as south Liverpool then check out Spire in Allerton.

We also have Da Piero Italian on Wirral, which is a lovely almost hidden secret. www.dapiero.co.uk now becoming more well known, just made it to Good Food Guide.

Panoramic restaurant has best views of Merseyside.

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You'll find reports of my recentish meals at 60 Hope Street, Spire and London Carriage Works down the listings somewhere.

Hope Street (last week) was good. Carriage Works (months ago) was OK. Spire (a few weeks back) had more negatives than I care to have when I've driven 45 minutes to get there.

John Hartley

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Unfortunately, there are very few places in Liverpool that are worth mentioning. That said there are a few places that are decent.

I had a good lunch in Mayur on Duke St last week. It's a modern Indian with a Chef ex of the Taj hotel group. It is on a block that also has Mexican (Savina), Italian (Il Forno) and Japanese (Sapporro) restaurants. You could give the Monro a try for a pint if you are on Duke St. Most of these places are decent for a casual meal.

Panoramic at the top of Beetham tower has the advantage of the best views in the city. I have only ever gone for drinks and the view. It is worth a visit for a drink. Not sure about the food.

London Carriage Works on Hope St can be quite good. Of the few meals I have had there the best was the "miles better" cheaper local option. Just down the road is 60 Hope St, reviewed positively by Harters last week. Not tried it but generally it is well liked. There is also The Quarter nearby for a casual feed - the food is usually decent although nothing out of the ordinary, the atmosphere is good. If you are near Hope St then a pint or two and a snack in the Everyman bistro is an option.

Also in the city centre there is Blakes in The Hard Days Night Hotel with a 4 or 5 in the Good Food Guide - the bar in the Hotel is not bad either. The newish San Carlo on Castle St is popular as is Chaophraya in Liverpool one. For a pint you could try the Ship and Mitre or Rigbys on Dale St. The Albert Dock is nice for a walk but with the exception of Vinea, most places offer style over substance.

For something more memorable I second Fraiche in Oxton, or alternatively, a trip to Chester for Simon Radley at the Grosvenor. Both can be reached by Merseyrail from the city centre and a taxi from the station.

Martin

Edited by MaLO (log)

Martin

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In Leicester try Kayal, a Keralan restaurant on Granby Street, 15 minute walk from both universities. If you want British/European I'd go for Entropy on Hinckley Road - only 5 min walk from DMU or a short taxi from Leicester University - it's very good. Websites should be easy to find.

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Other places in Liverpool include The Side Door, the Italian Club (very good tavola calda for an informal lunch if you are on your own or with one or two others) and its sister restaurant up the road the Italian Club Fish (very good fish and a few other dishes and a nice buzzy atmosphere). I also like Puschka - which is a small friendly place serving very good food. Others have mentioned some of the top end dining places, and I would add the Ziba, which is in the Racquet Club - very good food and a lovely dining room.

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Liverpool eating may be not as good as it could be, but it is not a culinary desert. If you are using Fraiche as your benchmark, then I think it is more than a little unfair to compare everywhere else to that. There have been several good or very good fine dining-type places already mentioned on this thread, and there are other good mid range places too.

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I’d have to disagree after living on Merseyside for over 20 years and only finding a handful of restaurants that are worth mentioning. there are very few places to eat and I’m not using fraiche as a bench mark as I like to eat out not just 'top end food'. I’ve tried Panoramic twice and both times haven't been good although the view is good. I’ve eaten at spire and was good but that was a while back.

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So what about Puschka, 60 Hope St, Ziba, The Side Door, London Carriage Works (sometimes ... not always consistent now), Delifonseca, Italian Club (both of them), Host ...

And there are others which I have not been to for ages (eg. Simply Heathcotes - was great at times, but some inconsistencies) or not eaten more than a light lunch in yet (San Carlo - enjoyed lunch and heard good reports), or not got round to going to yet (Chaophraya, Merchant Bar and Grill, the Maritime Museum restaurant, Exchange (in the Hilton Hotel) and The Stables in Garston - all have had good early reports).

And some old favourites which are pretty good, but won't blow you away - The Olive Press, Picolinos, Everyman, Yuet Ben, Mayur, Il Forno (can be great, but some consistency issues).

Granted, there are places I would describe as being all fur coat and no knickers - such as the Radisson Hotel restaurant, The Restaurant Bar and Grill, pretty much anything in the Albert Dock (except Vinea, some of the places in Allerton (but not Spire) and the Malmaison are some examples. However, there are more decent places to eat then I think you are giving the city credit for.

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  • 2 weeks later...

To be completely fair, I was happily pleased (surprisingly so) with this last trip.

I didn't have a lot of control over my schedule, particularly in Liverpool, where I arrived late, and was then taken in hand, but we were brought to the Side Door (twice) by the university, and both times I found nothing wrong with the food or service.

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On our first visit, I gave in to nostalgia and had the duck leg confit, served on a bed of lentils.

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The leg was adequate, with a nicely crisped skin (albeit a bit dry on the meat), but the lentils were wonderful, with the bite of vinegar added in. Pleasant, and a good lunch option (just around the corner, as it was).

It's worth a note, that, while Zagat treats Liverpool with the same disdain as they do Oklahoma City (another story I have to write), Michelin is quite kind in handing out cutlery, and they did have good things to say about the Side Door, referring to things as "fresh", which they were.

For a lunch venue, there was no issue with this.

For dinner, another arranged meal, this time at Kimos. Given the crowd we were with, this was satisfactory, a mix of Arabic and Indian dishes in a subterranean venue that gave a good atmosphere once we filled it with students. Again, good, polite service, and reasonable food.

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As a treat I was let off my leash and allowed to roam that evening, but downtown Liverpool was quite a tame affair, with most venues closed or closing. (I was taken aback, when I asked at the hotel about pubs, to be advised "Well, sir, for a gentleman of your years....").

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Still, I managed to visit the birthplace of the Beatles, and paid my respects to Eleanor

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on her bench.

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It was an interesting walkabout for the potential that I saw. A lot of Thai places, which indicates wives come home to the pubs, and a few pleasant bistros, that I would have enjoyed if I'd had more time.

And I never made it to Fraiche.

I solaced myself (and don't take that in an auto-erogenous manner) with a return to the Side Door the next day. Again, we were on a tight schedule, so there was little choice, but I was happy with this for what it was.

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I started with the chili squid. I would have done this with more aggro in the spicing, but then again, I don't have to make a living at this. They know their market, and the tastes are proper for that.

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And then I had the steak sandwich. Beautiful, fresh, full-fat meat, just off of rare pushing medium. As a lunch meal, I was quite satisfied with this (even if my decision on a starter had made us late).

To be fair, would I go here for dinner? Perhaps if I was living here, or staying at the Uni. It has a pleasant feel to it, with little pretension to the dishes or service. (And I did mention that the service was good, didn't I?)

This is the curse of business travel, that you have to clear out of town with so little time to explore. There was a to here I'd like to take the time to explore and turn over, to find what was under the pleasant facades.

But it was the pleasant facades themselves that surprised me. I'd expected the depths of recession and gloom, but Liverpool did its turn back a couple of decades ago, and now it's hardened itself to such extremities.

Not a riot, not even a minor punch-up to be found.

But there's always next trip.

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Glad you enjoyed your visit. The Side Door is definitely worth a visit in the evenings too - I really like the room and the atmosphere, and it is pretty damn good food without all the frippery.

I'm intrigued by you saying you saw lots of Thai restaurants - I can only think of two in the city centre...

I'm also intrigued by you finding all the bars etc closed - what night was it? If it was a Monday or Tuesday and after midnight, I wouldn't be surprised, as there are probably very few clubs or pubs open that late, but any other night everywhere should be open. I guess it also depends on where abouts in the ciy you were walking - like in the City of London, some of the pubs in the business district of Liverpool close around 8pm when the after work drinks people have gone home.

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:)

Yes, to be fair, it was the downtown district that I was cruising about. Still, I thought with the university so close that there would be more nightlife on the go.

Of course, being a Monday may have been part of the mix, too.

On the Thai side, what I saw were pubs that were advertising Thai cuisine. I'd thought that I'd seen more than a couple, but I may just have been seeing double, knowing me.

Cheers,

Peter

P.S. - it is a town I'd like to spend more time in.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...

Thank you to whoever recommended da Piero. We had a lovely meal there a week or so ago. It was simple, but had real soul. It felt like we were in a restaurant in Italy, from the friendliness of Dawn, to the divine olive oil, via some beautiful mussels, and Osso Buscco that he's been waiting years to put on the menu, unitl he found a satisfactory source of veal. It wasn't cheap, but my word it was worth it. And their house wine is remarkably good for the price.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I had dinner in Leeds last night. I was staying out in Headingley prior to doing soem research at the University library. Mrs H and I should have been on hols in Cyprus this week but we'd had to cancel last month due to health reasons (not that we'd have been flying ahywhere this week of course). It seemed appropriate then to book a table for myself at the Greek Cypriot Olive Tree on Otley Road (another branch is GFG listed).

I’d made a reservation and, even though 20 minutes early, was warmly welcomed. Small tables were available in the back room but, though the place was busy, a four-top in the main restaurant was offered and quickly reset just for me.

Grilled halloumi cheese was one starter and was fine. A bit bland as cheaper halloumi can be but OK. Perhaps more disappointing, because I expected more, was the melintzanosalata. More familiar to me as the Middle Eastern moutabel or baba ghanoush, the aubergine dip looked good, with some texture still remaining. However, it was bland - none of the smokiness that you get from charring the aubergine skin; nothing of the taste of the advertised tahini. Pitta was, however, hot and fresh.

My main was a perfectly cooked lamb kebab. Tasty lamb cooked just short of medium and which came with flavoursome rice. A side salad of lettuce, cucumber , tomato and pepper was dressed at the table with olive oil & lemon.

Certainly, this was a pleasant solitary meal which was served with efficiency and friendliness. If I lived locally, I might be something of a regular – but I suspect I’d always wish there was somewhere a little bit better in the neighbourhood.

John Hartley

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  • 7 months later...

So went here /www.delifonseca.co.uk for lunch today in liverpool. Theres a dining room downstairs and a deli below.

I had a hot pastrami on rye and the OH a hot beef po boy sandwich, a beer and a glass of wine.

So whats so remarkable about that?

The sandwiches were excellent (for the Mancunians think Barbakan good) as good as I have had (the last pastrami sarnie I had was in Vegas shhhhh and this was great) but it was knocked into a cocked hat by the beef po boy of which I was only got a taste, so proper food in smallish goodish room saved by the booths and an interesting looking specials board. Not cheap but enjoyable.

The Delis not bad either - they are winning awards - will be going back finally somewhere in liverpool to make a change from the everyman and the monro

Steven

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The Delifonseca is great, and they now have another branch at the Brunswick dock. You may or may not know (or care!) that the chef behind the Delifonseca is one of the original kitchen staff from the Everyman in the 70s, and went from there to open the Armadillo, which was an excellent Liverpool restaurant throughout the 80s when good places to eat were thin on the ground.

As for the Panoramic, I've eaten there once, about a year ago or more. For some reason, I can't remember everything we had (not a good sign?), but I do remember that the starters were excellent - really good. The mains were good, but (as I often find) not as good as the first course. The cheese board wasn't good at all - not much choice, and it didn't look at its best. I remember being irritated by the militant insistance on the staff doing all the wine pouring - she even took it out of my hand at one stage and after filling my glass, she moved it out of my reach to the other side of the (very large) table ... strange. There aren't many reviews out there that I trust - ie. Tripadvisor is no great guide to good food, and Hardens, usually a good enough guide, gives it a low score on food, but the comments don't seem to be as bad as the score, so would be interested to know what others think. On our experience I would go again, but it wouldn't be top of my list.

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