Lerpwl, Liverpool

Yes, I know that necking three snacky plates at lunchtime is hardly the basis for a full-on restaurant review, and no, I didn’t actually set foot in the place, but it’d still be daft not to mention this brief fly-by of Lerpwl in, well, Liverpool.

We’re over that way for a not-that-great tea (read about that here) and in search of a pit-stop before checking into the digs, we head down to Albert Dock for a gander at these much-improved food options everyone’s been banging on about.

Maray’s rammed, Lunyalita’s round the corner, which is a corner too far for this hungry idiot dragging a massive suitcase behind him, and then there’s Lerpwl, quiet to the point where I presume it to be closed.

It isn’t, we’re informed by the reservations lady who ventures out to check on the couple of tourists loitering at a dock-side table, weighing up their options. Here’s a menu, she says, which I interpret, understandably, as ‘order summat or do one’. We order.

Ordinarily I prefer oysters just as they come, which is to say unembellished, especially when they presumably haven’t travelled very far so will be ultra-fresh. But a wodge of melted cheese is rarely to be frowned upon, and the minerally mollusc with its covering of bronzed dairy fat is a happy down-in-one mouthful.

Neat slithers of cured duck have that game-like funk, and a pleasing kinda-corned-beef chew. A smattering of not-too-sharp piccalilli brings a contrasting blast of bright crunch.

A pile of KFC – or koji fried chicken, geddit? – has nothing of the famous chain’s crispy coating but plenty of its own special blend of ingredients. Koji is, according to one website, Japan’s “national mould”, a fermented paste that adds bungs of salty, yeasty depths to some nicely cooked chicken.

With the boats bobbing and harbour lights twinkling, Lerpwl’s based in a handsome spot. So much so we decide to return after that tea for a nightcap by the water. This time it’s packed with happy diners seated around an open kitchen populated by seemingly happy chefs. Outside, a pally sommelier offers us blankets and bring us good wine. Next time, Lerpwl, I’m coming in.

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