Liverpool’s Best Breakfast
This article was first published early 2011.
Dining out for breakfast can be a tricky task in Liverpool, there are plenty of cafes offering the full English, indeed a fry up is never too far away at any time of day. But what beyond the usual greasy spoon option do we have, if we want a breakfast of a higher quality or one that strays from the usual menu, where can we venture? I took a tour of some different offerings around Liverpool, and revelled in the highs and oh so lows of breakfast dining. New York city we aren’t, but with the right choice you can avoid the motorway service like food, and break your fast on something wholly more interesting.
Filini @ the Raddison. Walking into the Raddison foyer gives you aspirations of food that will be modern, clean and interesting, but the tired buffet never reaches the heights of the foyer ceiling. The bread and pastries are cheap and mass produced with little skill and the cheeses and cold meats are humdrum at best. The hot option is reasonable standard fair, and they offer to cook eggs to your likeing. The food isn’t bad here, its just very average, that being said its clean, the service and quick and friendly, you can have a nice view out onto the Mersey and at £7 per person (including as much tea and coffee as you want) its reasonably priced. This is greasy spoon+, the normal cooked breakfast with the addition of some continental offerings in a pleasant surrounding.
Moose Coffee. This american style cafe has existed out in Crosby for a year or two, with the second branch opening up in the city centre last September. Moose wholly adheres to the American style, big plates of food including pancakes, french toast and eggs benedict. Beatrice and I opted for the Manolito (a dish of tortilla, refried beans, salsa and eggs) and the french toast, both were excellent well cooked and tasty. My Manolito was pleasingly different and I’m fairly certain a breakfast like this isn’t available anywhere else in the city. At an average of around £8.70 for a breakfast and tea or coffee, this meal was not only very good but also a good price.
The Hilton. A hotel that has entertained the likes of Pamela Anderson and the Sugar Babes, there must be a cracking breakfast available in this upmarket joint. Alas there isn’t, the substance of the breakie, like Pamela, failes to convince on every level. The cooked food had been sitting out on hot plates for hours, it was tired, dry and tasteless. The eggs were completely solid and the bacon felt like it had been lightly stewed for the past 12 hours, it was thick, rubbery and as lifeless as a Sugar Babe’s song. The bread, cheeses, pastries and everything else was of little quality and very little interest.
Delifonseca Dockside. Last year this highly successful deli and restaurant opened up it’s second branch at Brunswick Dock, and with this came early openings and a breakfast menu. Known for its excellent food at very good prices, recently voted best value restaurant in the UK, I had high hopes for what is one of my favorite restaurants. I by passed the traditional cooked breakfast options, not because the didn’t look good, in fact they looked excellent and a brief chat with the women at the table next to me confirmed this. I plumped for the Bircher Muesli, oats soaked in apple juice, with fresh and dried fruit, yoghurt and honey, which was excellent, different and, due to the fact it wasn’t fried, made me feel virtuous. A bowl of very good muesli and a cup of tea for around £7, it was well priced if not the cheapest.
The London Carriage Works. Part of Liverpool’s most prestigious hotel, I was expecting a lovely breakfast from the carriage works. The quality of the food did not let me down, I had the Liverpool Breakfast, which was a very high quality full english, the bacon, sausage and black pudding being excellent and, I’m told, locally sourced. Beatrice had a smoked haddock with poached egg and butter sauce that was equally good, well cooked with an excellent sauce, which shows technical skill. The continental buffet showed similar quality of produce and the wide array of choices on the cooked menu was very pleasing. At £15.50 for the cooked breakfast this is certainly the most expensive, but the extra cash is probably worth it for the quality. The surroundings, however, lacked the care and attention that the food offered, it would perhaps be a touch harsh to describe the place as filthy but it was certainly dirty. Our table, along with the surrounding tables, had not been properly wiped down, with crumbs and smears from previous occupants. Two tables over from us, the larger group table was pilled with dirty plates, bowls and mugs, that remained there for our entire breakfast, it was even added to during our meal. Despite there being only three tables seated, and three waiting staff on duty, cleaning seemed to be of lower priority, and the cleanliness of the surroundings was off putting. This is not what I would expect from an establishment with its reputation and prices.
Leaf. This independent venture moved from it original home in the Nova’s and has been doing good business on Bold street for a while. Appearing as a high quality tea shop offering good food, tea and coffee, plus its open into the evening as a bar with live music and an informal atmosphere. The breakfast menu is slightly more limited than others, however the staff are more than willing to adjust meals to you taste. Thus the bacon and scrambled egg on toast wasn’t on the menu, but the kitchen had no issue rustling it up. This along with our full english was excellent, the produce of good quality and well cooked. The £6.25 for the fry up was almost worth it for the home made hash brown alone. At £8.15 for a large breakfast and pot of tea (which you can top up for free), this is very good value and good food.
Clearly in Liverpool the independent establishments are leading the way, Delifonseca, Moose Coffee and Leaf offer, in my opinion, the best breakfasts. The carriage works does provide the best food and level of cooking but this combined with the price and cleanliness of the surrounds make it fourth choice at best. Moose’s menu offers great variety and importantly dishes you can’t get else where, if you find yourself near the town hall in the morning its a great place to stop. Delifonsecca dock side is doing what its Stanley Street branch has done for a while, very good food at a good price, plus the ease of parking makes it a good stop for anyone driving in or out of the city centre. Leaf is a great place for those people in the bold street end of town, especially if you want a sizable meal and to sit and relax with a newspaper. The Raddison is ok if you want a cheap breakfast and you’re at that end of town, and the Hilton should be avoided.