Gordo revisits an old favourite that’s still showing the youngsters a thing or two
FIVE years may sound like a long time to some of Gordo’s millennial readers, but the great tragedy of life is that to Fatty that five years has gone past in a flash. It’s that long since he reviewed the (then) newly opened Art School.
But a lot has gone on since then. Take, for example, the opening paragraph of that review.
There is theatre inside all three front doors
“Vegetarians have wicked, shifty eyes and laugh in a cold, calculating manner. They pinch little children, steal stamps, drink water and grow beards. And that’s just the women.”
That was a nod to the fact that Chef Paul ‘Porky’ Askew had decided to put vegetarian courses on the menu. Gordo was mildly amused. And he didn’t get one complaint on Facebook, Twitter or anywhere else for that matter.
Switch to today, have a crack at a vegan and Gordo will have to go downstairs, get a claw hammer out of the drawer and un-nail his balls from the front door before he puts his underpants on in the morning.
Anyway, let’s get on with it. Gordo sat himself down in the dining room of the magnificent building, part of an architectural heritage that is peculiar to Liverpool in the North West. It’s as if Hitler had told the Luftwaffe to leave all the best bits alone. It’s not much different to Gordo’s current favourites in London: Core by Clare Smith and The Ledbury. Porky’s house is just as pretty as theirs, inside and out.
There is theatre inside all three front doors. At The Art School, having walked past the potted trees which salute you when you walk in, a person greets you and leads you through into a bar with the original fire place, where you can sit down and neck a perfect Negroni.
The staff have that post-scripted chat. They are genuinely interested and know their regulars, whilst treating unknowns with equal good humour. Things you think you need arrive as if by telepathy, and you don’t get asked mid-mouthful if you’re enjoying your lamb chop – a crime that Gordo wants punishing by waterboarding.
The room itself is genius. There was another town house in Palma, a couple of hundred years old, visited by Gordo over three decades ago. Boasting one Michelin star, the lunch was the first real Spanish meal for Fatty, with delicate croquetas and brutal Riojas. It was the late afternoon light streaming in through the large windows (not suffering from the window tax) that did it for Gordo, as much as the food. It was trippy.
If you’re lucky enough to visit The Art School on a sunny day, you’ll get the same deal. It is an elegant, captivating room that does the job of a good lunch, taking you away from all the brutalities of the world, not dissimilar to two hours immersed in a Fred and Ginger movie.
But the food has to play its part. So does it?