On the mezzanine at Duke Street Market clings “intimate Scouse brasserie” Barnacle, serving modern dishes and championing regional food; the brainchild of The Art School’s Paul Askew, butcher Bone and Block’s Harry Marquart, and Kieran Gill and Jake Lewis, disciples of both.
Inspired by the North West’s producers, farmers and artisans as well as ingredients linked to Liverpool’s trading port history, the likes of New Liverpool seafood chowder – crab, clam, cockles, Southport smoked pork, kohlrabi – sits alongside new takes on traditional chicken terrine, made with free-range meat from Whitchurch in Cheshire. Cuts like Old Spot pork belly (with Butcher’s Wife black pudding, Granny Smith apples and celeriac) and Cumbrian ox cheek (accompanied by mash, Growing Fields Roscoff onion, carrot and swede) are featured, with game appearing in season, as well as lovingly salt-aged Cumbrian duck. Fish wise, it might be Mr Ward’s tandoori cod with cauliflower pilau, wild rice, fig and Barnacle masala, or Mr Ward’s Peterhead hake with mussels, Swiss chard, seaweed and turnip. Mr Ward hails from Birkenhead. The Wirral also sends ricotta and raw milk butter across the water while Ormskirk contributes leek and kale, as well as hispi cabbage, teamed with Smithy’s mushrooms, bulgar wheat and shallots. Mrs Kirkham’s chips in with her Lancashire cheese; Peter Jones (not that one) sends his beetroot and winter squash as the supporting act. Barnacle tells the story of the region’s food and drink provenance, says the website, and Paul Askew agrees that it’s “a snapshot of some of the wonderful produce that’s within a 25-mile radius of here, some of it is literally down the road”.
But we’re not finished yet. Maghull carrot cake is lapped up with cream cheese and pecans, while seasonal (at time of writing) rhubarb is poached and given a ginger crumb and lashings of custard, and chocolate fondant gets the sea salt and raspberries treatment. There’s also cheese – a Celtic heritage cheese selection, no less.
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