Three lads fed up with the current and conventional way of dining could change Liverpool’s food scene for good.
So often the city is spoken about in the same breath as London and a few years ago we would have told you to not bother comparing, but fast forward to now and we can go plate for plate. A combination of daring chef’s taking things that little bit further alongside the advent of pop-up means Liverpool’s Secret Dining Club can thrive and thrive it will. So much so that their events sell out at the same pace of Glastonbury. They’ve taken their diners on a tour of the world through food at abandoned train stations and more but last week they decided to go alfresco in Baltic Triangle’s back garden.
Liverpool’s premiere gin garden ‘Botanical Garden’ saw 50 bemused, hungry and excited diners group together around communal benches cut from healthy slabs where the line between strangers and friends became lost throughout the night. Botanical Garden provides a contrasting backdrop to a fancy affair and the juxtaposition of this is quite something. A garden full of sun and gin sounds like your quintessential British garden during the summer time but this urban wonderland, covered in street art and curios, is a far cry away from your nan’s house.
As soon as diners sat down they were presented with a menu, a piece of paper and a pen. The courses were given ambiguous aliases such as “fish course”, “main” and “starter”. For the passionate lads behind it, it is all about the experience. Throughout the evening you’ll document what you think each dish was comprised of and at the end of the night they’ll reveal it to you. You eat food with all of your senses and everything from the space to the menu is designed to put you out of your comfort zone and experience a new kind of dining. The chefs undulated around a ‘glass-bubble’ kitchen where they were visible to diners. This adds an intimate edge to proceedings. Whilst locations are whispered and tucked away behind closed doors and menus are printed with mysterious typography, the chefs put themselves on every plate and they’re proud to show you how they work.
This next paragraph is going to discuss food with lots of pictures so if you’re prone to drooling, we suggest you look away now. As Lento, the resident pizza pioneers, also call this unavowed space home, it only seemed right they got their hands dirty. They kicked off the seven-course menu with a pan-fried local pork leg, Wirral watercress puree, Bramley apples, fennel fronds and fermented onions. This is just torture writing this. This went on to an intricate and bamboozling edible garden with soil made out of ground black olives and baby carrots made to look as if they’re sprouting from the ground. The dish also had crispy lentils, whipped goats cheese and beetroot. The evening promised and delivered all kinds of deliciousness but nothing caught our eye more than the “Eggs & Soldiers”. To many, a favourite morning pastime where the world passed by as we dipped toast into a runny eye. However, Chef Michael Harrison and Daniel Heffy don’t do traditional, remember. Egg shells had been filled with yoghurt, cream cheese, vanilla and mango to assimilate the egg and the toast was candied. A total challenge for the mind to comprehend but just another day at the office for the David Blaine’s of dining.
It seems as if all eyes are on Liverpool’s Secret Dining Club and each time they push themselves to create something better than the last that will stay with you forever. We spoke to Chef Michael Harrison and he said:
“We are thrilled to have successfully held our first outdoor event, it was a risk but we secretly knew that we’d get the good weather – Liverpool never lets us down! We’ve got a few more ideas of unusual locations and will continue to pop-up in places you wouldn’t expect.”
To be put on their email list email Joe Earnshaw at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter and Instagram to hear about it first but be quick as tickets sell out quicker than us being left alone in the room with those eggs and soldiers.