A love letter to small independent businesses, that very much include some of our favourite restaurants

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favourite restaurants

Where did the love affair start? My great aunt Emma ran what would now be called a gastro pub. She was a power-house. When she wasn’t nailing a fourteen hour working day, she was bringing up my mother, orphaned at a very early age. Every week, she spent quality time with my mother: and left others to cope with the pub. They ate out. They shopped in style: my mother adored Bold Street. They went to the theatre (the Penny Gods) and often the movies.

WORDS: Jean Hill

My mother learnt how to cook at an early age. Everything was cooked from scratch: we made our own bread, and vintage scouse with beef and neck of lamb, obviously. My mother could deal with boning and filleting, no problem. She was simply the best sous chef I ever encountered: She taught me some pastry skills, and I still follow her recipe for Christmas cake. I once worked my way through Julia Child’s Cordon Blue, ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’. If I needed to, I could still produce decent choux pastry.

My mother shopped in local markets. Wherever she went, she would get involved in serious discussions about provenance and where to find the best quality ingredients. I can remember her chatting to shoppers, buying for Chinese restaurants, and gleaning recipes in the process.

It began all over again with His & Hers magazine. This time it was events and restaurant reviews with my editor daughter. This is a homage to all those wonderful independents out there, that have succeeded through sheer talent, inspiration and damned hard work. Some of those entrepreneurs that Merseyside is famous for, have been badly affected by Covid‑19. There is still a cohesive, caring community out there, and it is something to celebrate and invest in.

We have been really lucky and privileged to eat at some great independent restaurants, and witness the launch of some great fashion and beauty brands. Many of those independent restaurants are family enterprises, which makes them particularly vulnerable under lock-down.

Restaurants run on tight budgets. Gary Usher needed to crowd fund to get his flag-ship restaurant ‘Wreckfish’ off the ground. He goes for classic cuisine, and rightly says there is no reason to mess with a timeless winner like Crème Brulée.

Delifonseca, has grown slowly, and has become famous for painstakingly prepared great food, and a wonderful delicatessen. Our editor shops there for pasta, and other delights. They are offering large veg boxes at £45.00, that includes Wye Valley asparagus.

Phone: 0151 2550808

Casa Italia is a thriving family business. We enjoyed one of the best vegan lunches ever there, back in January 2020. Probably the best pizza in Liverpool. Deliveries through Deliveroo.

Justino’s is another Italian family restaurant in Aigburth. We had an amazing meal and a lovely evening there, and it seems like a lifetime ago. Check out deliveries through Deliveroo.

Maray produces scintillating vegetarian food, with wide range (cauliflower dish is their speciality) that I have enjoyed in good company. Deliveries through Deliveroo.

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#MarayMondayMemories // Simon, Lucy, Danny and Chris – 2015

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Slim’s Bold Street is doing takeaway and deliveries through Deliveroo. Their speciality ‘barbie’ corn on the cob, burgers and their French fries are awesome.

Check out Nova, Heswall, for deliveries: 07852553549. Nova is described as great British food, with a Mediterranean influence.

Lunya and Lunyalita do beautiful Spanish tapas, and they have been offering a delivery service: 0151 7069770.

The Olive Tree in New Brighton is our local for the best Sunday roasts. It is closed at the moment, but we will be at the front of the queue when it re-opens. They’ve been making some food deliveries to the elderly, and to some emergency staff, at no cost, so that they can make a difference even while the restaurant’s closed.

We’re dreaming of enjoying a dinner with a view at Panoramic 34 again when this leading Liverpool restaurant re-opens.

Stay as safe as you possibly can during the pandemic, and keep supporting those independents.

Related read: Considered acts of kindness: organisations delivering in spades, in a crisis

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