Monday, 22 September 2014

Liverpool Food & Drink Festival 2014

liverpool food & drink festival

This past weekend saw the Liverpool Food & Drink festival set up for their annual celebration of the finest local restaurants, bars, cafes and producers. Sefton Park becomes tent city and the smells drift out across the parks as master chefs and talented foodies set about to fill your bellies with some of their gastronomical indulgences. With over 60 restaurants and bars, and over 70 local producers, there is sure to be something for everyone and you’re bound (like I did) to try something new and amazing!

CAUTION! This post contains calories and drool inducing  pictures. Read on at your waistlines peril!

I bought my tickets last minute online the night before (you do get a discount if you pre-purchase online!) then headed down to the park bright and early on Sunday morning. Gates opened at 10.30am and we got there a little after that (after I accidentally got us lost! Oops!). I went along with my brother to see what was on offer!

First off, we did a sweep of the park...which took us an hour! I severely underestimated how many stalls there would be to check out! From food service to drinks and kitchenware demos, I had to stop at every single one and have a peek at the produce. The festival splits its food into zones; marketplace, street food, and wines & spirits being the main ones, but there was also a café area, kids zone, edible garden and lots of pop ups in between. They also had a number of the cities most popular chain restaurants set up selling their signature dishes! We had a little wander around, taking notes of what food took our fancy and what goodies we wanted to purchase along the way to take home. Once we got back to the start, it was time to start eating!

One thing I will say is getting there early had its perks; there was lots of free samples on offer earlier in the day! We easily made a meal or two from those alone! In order to try a few more dishes we decided we would split whatever we bought between us, so we would get a nice little taster and still have room for more! This also kept the cost down but most dishes, tapas sized, came in at less than £5 a portion!

liverpool food & drink festival

First up we grabbed ourselves an original sausage roll at Moon & Pea. There was nothing original about it! The pastry was thin but very light and the filling…wow! The sausage meat tasted great and was so filling! We didn’t mean to start off with something so stodgy but it was delicious!

liverpool food & drink festival

Next up, Piggie Smalls for a classic onion dog. We’d both heard great things about this joint and the creative names for some of the hot dogs gave us a giggle. Sadly, the food didn’t keep us smiling! The hot dog looks pretty good, the onions tasted great, but there was too much bread for my liking and the hot dog was really bland and tasteless. I imagine the dogs with more toppings on would have tasted a bit better but this was a let down for us.

liverpool food & drink festival

We found ourselves in the street food section next and headed to Chilli Banana for their satay sticks. We went for the chicken in peanut oil and they were delicious! Perfect portion for two to share and get a taste of what these guys had to offer! Their pad thai looked amazing too but that would have been a little difficult for us to share!

liverpool food & drink festival

Continuing with thai food, we found ourselves as the Thai Pies stand. We’d seen these guys on twitter and really liked the sound of their less than conservative pie filings. We went for the beef, which was lightly spiced and…wow!! Easily one of the best things we had had so far! This one, we reluctantly shared but spent the rest of the day contemplating going back for more! The pie had so much filling, tons of flavor and was a steal at just £2.80 a pie! The pastry was perfect too! You could buy them frozen to take home but we didn’t want to risk it defrosting too much and being wasted.

liverpool food & drink festival

Rookwood Bar & ‘Cue has recently opened up in the city center and I’ve heard nothing but good things but have yet to find myself in there! This was a great chance to check out the kind of things they serve at the main restaurant. I ordered the 4oz flat iron steak with onions cooked medium. They cook everything up on this huge smoker right there in front of you – it was fascinating to watch and smelt unbelievable – just watch out for the ash! I watched them cook up my steak and serve it up and ladies and gentlemen, I have to say, I was blown away by it! Seriously! I love my steak and this was out of this world! I have zero idea what sauce they cooked up the onions in but I want to smother myself in it, it was that good! The steak was delicious, cooked perfectly and full flavour and juice! I have every intention of finding myself in the restaurant very very soon!

liverpool food & drink festival

Deciding it was time to have something a little sweeter, we found ourselves at the Treats Bakeshop. The brownies they had on offer were the size of my head! As soon as I spotted peanut butter and salted caramel brownies I knew I had to have one…and there was no way I’d be sharing it! It tasted as good as it looked, if not better! It was so rich and chewy, but I didn’t find it too stodgy at all! It was the perfect delight, it just needed a good brew to go with it!

Last but not least, my brother had a hankering for some pill bill tacos from Lucha Libre. He practically lives in the actual restaurant as it is, but there was no way he could go past the stand without getting something! I really wanted to try the scouse tacos but I was so full, I didn’t want to make myself feel sick! Maybe I should have shared that brownie!

A shout out has got to go to Thistly Cross Cider, we stopped here twice the cider was that good! I had an elderflower and a strawberry cider and both were amazing! I can’t really do fizzy drinks so these were perfect, flat and full of flavour and pretty low % too. They elderflower flavour comes in a non-alcoholic version too. My brother had the whiskey cask cider twice and fell head over heels for it, but there didn’t appear to any bottles on sale to take home! Curses!

liverpool food & drink festival
Obligatory port-a-loo selfie

I can’t believe I’ve never been to Liverpools Food & Drink festival before but I will be back next year, that’s a promise! There was so much more I would have loved to try! Price wise, everything was really reasonable, with most things coming in at under £5 per portion, and many of the market place offers where 2 or 3 for £5. I did pick up a few goodies to bring home so I’ll be putting up a haul post soon!

I love being able to shop local and buy outside of the big chain supermarkets, and an event like this is a great way to get to know some of the smaller local businesses out there. There’s a few cards I picked up that I will certainly be checking out and I can already see some of the goodies I brought home becoming firm favourites!

Have you been to the Liverpool Food & Drink festival? Or, any other food festival for that matter? I’d love to check out some more so let me know in the comments below!

Until next time,

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