Last weekend, Marc and I left our inland home of Birmingham for the maritime city of Liverpool, home of The Beatles, Liver-birds and those girls that wander around on Saturdays with curlers in their hair (they are real!).
During our weekend, we went to some museums (well, one), witnessed Tracey Emin’s unsavoury bed, went on a paranormal investigation (as you do) and best of all, ate lots of delicious food!
Our first port of call (apart from the actual port) was a place known as Egg, for dinner. Obviously I wasn’t too keen on the name but after some rumination, I decided that an egg doesn’t have to signify death to countless baby male chicks, but a beginning. Like the egg picture when you first join Twitter.
And true to its title, Egg got us off to a very good start indeed. Countless flights of stairs finally gave way to a delightful hub of lively chatter, wafts of home-cooked food, and a scatter of tables and wooden benches. A mezzanine floor added another dimension to the charming makeshift set up.
The food was a selection of dishes that all came with a side of salad, and/ or rice for £6.50. I chose a curried root veg dish, and Marc a mushroom crumble. Neither were masterpieces but both hit the spot; and at such a reasonable price and with such friendly service, any lacking was more than made up for.
If I lived in Liverpool, it’d certainly be my go-to relax after a long day/ friend meeting place/ pretending to do some important writing on my laptop but actually going on Facebook, place.
Egg also serves a daily breakfast, and a selection of cakes and coffee. When we couldn’t resist popping by on Sunday, the vegan choice was carrot or banana cake.
Egg is the ideal spot if you’re after hearty, affordable food, need a pick me up after a long day, or just want a quiet perch to sit and watch the world go by. With its warm decor, homeliness and understated bohemian feel, you won’t be disappointed.
Our first breakky (of three) was at a place near the docks known as Brasco Lounge, part of the Loungers chain which we since discovered operates in most cities (there are two in Brum!).
Not only was the breakfast delicious, the decor while a bit hipstery, owed to its warm atmosphere and old-school (skool?) appeal, with odd bits of furniture, elegantly carved chairs, and even a book swap corner.
The cafe/bar even does a separate vegan menu with other offerings such as a falafel plate, root veg and coconut curry, avocado/ salad ciabatta and a falafel burger! The food was accompanied by very pleasant and quick service and a cheerful it’s-Saturday buzz!
Dinner was definitely the highlight of our trip. We went to Sanskruti, a vegetarian Indian restaurant whose vast menu spanned both the familiar curry house dishes of the north and the cool coconut counterparts of the South ( I’m not pretending to be curry connoisseur- I was lucky enough to grab a quick chat with restaurant manager, George). The restaurant is family run, with its founding branch in Manchester.
It was set in a beautiful space in the cellar of an old brick building. Unusual decorations like the series of parasols sprouting from the ceiling, low lighting and exposed bricks added to its unique blend of enchantment and homely charm, along with the scent of freshly ground spices emanating from the kitchen.
The menu was probably the most extensive veggie menu I’d ever seen, organised into categories like Gujarat (the family’s Western home-city), South India and Punjab in the North, street-food and starters. I ordered Pattra for my starter: steamed leaves native to South Asia woven into a patty-like format scattered with fresh coconut.
For my main I couldn’t resist the rare option of a vegan Korma. Marc opted for Kathal Lazeez, a Northern curry dish featuring the wonderfully versatile jackfruit!
The manager, George told me that creamy dishes were easily veganised by substituting dairy for soya milk. He also informed me that traditionally Korma sauce is made with cashews; a pleasing vegan nugget of information.
I highly recommend Sanskruti for veggies, vegans and omnivores alike. It definitely provides an authenticity and wider taste of the exotic not often present in regular curry houses. George also told me that he’d occasionally encountered rogue omnivores in search of flesh, who after agreeing to eat, left pleasantly surprised!
Another breakfast was to be had the next (ahem, afternoon), this time in a pleasant, unassuming cafe known as Eighty One.
Again it was delicious, and even came with vegan black pudding which reminded me of a sausage from days of olde. For lunch there was a panini on offer. It had a minimalist kind of vibe, with a record store in the back, so naturally the decor was thus.
We figured we must have hit a kind of bohemian quarter as also along Renshaw Street (FYI just across the road from Egg) was a mini-indoor market known as the Hippie Hole, and a very tiny shop selling spiritual wares and offering treatments. Bold Street parallel, is also worth checking out of you’re that way inclined. It is home to Shared Earth, a nature/spiritual inspired, fair trade gift shop and a health shop chock full of vegan treats (natural and processed hurray!).
Sadly the Peruvian street food place known as Chicha went undiscovered as I was seriously in danger of giving birth to a breakfast buffet.
Though from what I saw of the menu which boasts a ‘veggie bar,’ it’s definitely worth a try for vegans looking for a new flavour, in our case other than breakfast.
We toddled off full bellied and contented to the train; speculating on whether going on an hour and a half train ride for a curry is ridiculous or not.