What the ex­perts rec­om­mend

The Week - - Leisure | Food & Drink -

Wreck­fish Slater Street, Liver­pool (0151-707 1960) Chef Gary Usher’s el­e­gant, com­fort­able and friendly new restau­rant in Liver­pool is (ac­cord­ing to the well-sup­ported Kick­starter cam­paign that funded it) named af­ter a species of fish that dwells on the ocean floor. To judge from the su­perb and as­ton­ish­ingly good-value meal we en­joyed there, says Felic­ity Cloake in The Guardian, this par­tic­u­lar spec­i­men won’t be “lurk­ing in the briny deep for long”. Our pork cut­let was so good I asked the wait­ress to find out from the kitchen how they got it so juicy and soft (us­ing brine and steam, ap­par­ently). Turnip cakes (one of four veg­e­tar­ian op­tions) had a light, clean and at­trac­tive bit­ter­ness that re­ally sang when com­bined with the punchy pome­gran­ate mo­lasses dress­ing on the ac­com­pa­ny­ing beet­root and leaves. And warm mar­malade sponge was a “very fine thing in­deed” – its open, al­most suety crumb drenched in “glo­ri­ously bit­ter­sweet” or­ange syrup. Set lunch, £20; din­ner about £35 a head. Partick Duck Club 27 Hyn­d­land Street, Mans­field Park, Glas­gow (0141-334 9909) Ev­ery year Glas­gow’s best chefs brace them­selves “for an­other deafie from those know-noth­ing bas­turts at Miche­lin”, says Ma­rina O’lough­lin in The Sun­day Times. But the city’s lack of starred restau­rants is fine by me. When eat­ing out in my beloved home town, I stick to the Kiss prin­ci­ple: keep it sim­ple, stupid. “Not a dumb­ing-down, but the good stuff, done well, with a healthy avoid­ance of foams and de­con­struc­tions.” Step for­ward, Partick Duck Club, where “ev­ery­thing that ar­rives is just what you hope it’ll be”. Sparky, sat­is­fy­ing cau­li­flower comes bur­nished to a crisp bronze, perched on tahini yo­ghurt and scat­tered with pome­gran­ate. Toasted sour­dough is topped with torched High­land Brie and driz­zled with truf­fle honey. “Cheese on toast as a starter? I’m so in.” Fish pie is “fan­tas­ti­cally sooth­ing”. Con­fit leg of duck with chilli and pineap­ple rel­ish is “all kinds of great”, and comes with per­fect duck-fat­savoury chips. It’s great value, and the ser­vice is heart-warm­ingly friendly.

Large meal for two, with wine, £94.

Tap and Kitchen Oun­dle Wharf, Sta­tion Road, Oun­dle, Northamp­ton­shire (01832-275069) This pleas­ant river­side pub-restau­rant in pretty Oun­dle is wel­com­ing with­out be­ing ex­actly char­ac­ter­ful, and serves food that is con­sis­tently de­cent with­out be­ing show-stop­ping, says Keith Miller in The Daily Tele­graph. If that sounds like damn­ing with faint praise, it isn’t meant to. Tap and Kitchen’s model – tak­ing good lo­cal in­gre­di­ents and pre­par­ing them well, with “the odd fash­ion­able flour­ish” – is com­mend­able. And it knocks “into a cocked hat” the “end­less cav­al­cade” of mid­dling chains that dom­i­nate Bri­tain’s town­scapes. Hanger steak was well rested, ten­der and nicely sea­soned, and served with wa­ter­cress, a pot of minty-sweet “house chimichurri” and de­cent chips. There was an “in­tel­li­gently cho­sen” wine list. And pud­dings were “grown-up takes on well­worn crowd-pleasers” – such as le­mon pos­set with meringue, Chan­tilly and le­mon mar­malade. Give me more like this place, please. Lunch for two, £80.

Wreck­fish: as­ton­ish­ingly good value

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