60 Hope Street, Liverpool.
“There’s life outside London”, my mother tells me on a regular basis. I know, I always reply. For a start I don’t even live in London, I live in Kent. So by definition I break her annoying little maxim. I don’t even particularly like London anymore if I’m honest. Greatest city in the world? It’s stuffy, over-priced and pretentious mum, I tell her. I mean, yeah, I work there, but I get home as soon as I can… anyway. This is what she said – again – as we finished our meal at 60 Hope Street. She may well have preceded it with a faintly smug “see”, I can’t quite remember; I was too hazily sated.
Apparently there’s a culinary battle raging in Liverpool between a few restaurants to see who can earn a much vaunted Michelin star first. This place must be throwing saucepans in the scrap and causing a few black eyes and bloodied noses in the process. It’s excellent. The service struck that rare and superb balance: attentive and efficient without being overly familiar or obsequious. The atmosphere was nice; relaxed and informal yet ‘special’. The highlight though, as it always needs to be, was the food. It was all quite wonderful but the tip from our table: it’s essential (in the first-world sense) you leave room for dessert. If I may speak dramatically for a moment: I’ve never tasted a better set of puddings in my life. Or if I have, I can’t remember because I was probably drunk. Which is precisely why these days I’m sober: to remember such divine sugary majesty as this.