We are brought up not to favour change. Change is different, change is scary and oh, we got so used to the old.
Change, however daunting, can be necessary and arguably better, which is the exact situation which has happened with Rookwood Bar and ‘Cue. Formally Tapas Tapas on Colquitt Street, the small plates have turned into much larger ones and the once dark Spanish red that paraded itself through the building has turned into a farm sky blue as it has revamped itself into a steakhouse where the centrepiece and main attraction is the grill. It is rare that you get a steak well done (pun intended) and as Rookwood is all about cooking great meat with great care, our quest for great food stopped here next. Forget finger licking good, it is body licking good.
The interior has a real meat market feel to it, we suspect osmosis from the Baltic Triangle has happened. Exposed and low fitted light bulbs are the hottest Feng-shui of the 21st century and the bulbous bulbs fit right at home in the decor as well as lighting up the mini-whisky emporium that fills the shelves. There are stripped wood walls lined with metal container doors that add a real industrial feel. There’s a roughed up wall as soon as you walk in with a sketched illustration of an impressionable and rather confident looking cow to greet you as you enter that adds an expressive and urban feel to the events. The devil is in the detail and as hard as it is to separate yourself and seem original these days and although they might have spent weeks with their heads buried in a Dulux colour chart, they did pretty well. Enough about the interior, the food deserves much more attention. All of Rookwood’s meat is dry-aged for a minimum of 30 days, a technique used to make the meat as tender and flavoursome as possible. They regularly visit the farm they get their meat from and use Edge and Son for the rest, a family run butchers that have won awards at the ‘food Oscars’, beating off close to 2000 entrants to win the best local retailer.
For starters, we couldn’t see past the baby rack ribs covered in a chilli, coconut and rum glaze that hit all the notes and ended in the perfect symphony. The chill gave it an after taste of heat, the coconut a certain sweetness and the rum a smooth and caramelised goodness. There is something so satisfying about pulling the bone clean out of a rack of ribs, especially one that wouldn’t be out of place in one of the Flintstones’ hair. The starter set the scene for what we knew was about to be a great culinary experience and the main event was certainly not an anti-climax. As it was National Burger Day, we joined in with the celebrations and tried their ever so popular ‘Squealing Piggy’, a medium cooked burger topped with slow cooked pulled pork and a sweet BBQ sauce. The meat is shown the utmost respect, no seasoning goes into it, just bits of bone marrow that give the burgers a beautiful marbling effect before it melts into the meat and drips into the grill. The drippings from the beef are collected and recycled in the most delicious way; this is where the cooking of the chips happen. You’re salivating reading this, aren’t you? Don’t be ashamed, just admit it, you aren’t the only one.
Just when we thought the meal had reached its peak, an attentive guy named Paul came down with a pot of sauce that sounds like an everyday responsibility for him, but little did he know he was about to change our lives forever. Beer-cheese sauce. Yes, you read that correctly, quite like the delicious worlds of chocolate and peanut colliding together, cheese and beer come together for an affair that tastes so good we’d have bathed in it given the opportunity. Paul popped over for a few chats throughout the meal, he goes beyond and above his call of duty and is a mangers dream. He embodies the ethos of the company and when he’s not making sure people are enjoying their meals, he’s at home cooking all of the sauces they have on offer, as well as the life-changing beer cheese concoction. He recommended his homemade chipotle sauce to go alongside the burger, a smoky and flavoursome sauce that had little burn and was like a pleasant version of inhaling a gust of smoke from hickory. It isn’t all about the meat either, vegetarians can dine like kings here. I know most are used to being disregarded from most menus and when prompted, the “vegetarian menu” is often a dreary some choice made between soggy mushrooms or bread and butter but there are a few dishes that could satisfy even the most carnivorous. The ‘Green Angel’ burger is definitely one to try, halloumi cheese, crispy onions, avocado and sweet tomato chutney all married together within a pillowy-soft brioche bun
We could keep on talking about how good Rookwood Bar & ‘Cue is until the cows come home. Although all the meat at Rookwood Bar and ‘Cue is slow roasted, it’s impossible to not eat quick. As well as being an independent themselves they also work alongside independents all across the city, including: Liverpool Cheese Company, Liverpool Craft Beer and local butchers and fish mongers that come in with their latest catch every day. Rookwood Bar & ‘Cue wouldn’t’ be out of place in the centre of Texas but thanks to the guys behind it, they’ve saved you the plane ride. There is no magic formula, source local and quality ingredients and surround yourself with passionate people and you’ll have a venue you can be proud of. Cardholders will be happy to know it is 20% off the total bill Sunday-Thursday as a special mid-week launch and 10% off Friday and Saturday, the perfect excuse to fill up on beers and burgers.