The birthday of one of my best friends, Becky, took us to Liverpool. We were keen to go all out to celebrate the big 30 so we opted to try one of the first fine dining restaurants in Liverpool, The Art School
What’s the story?
The Art School is located near the trendy Hope Street area of the city and is based in a former Victorian children’s home. The brain child of chef Paul Askew, who has led on a number of other successful food ventures in the past. The aim of the restaurant is to use local produce to create inspiring dishes and bring fine dining to Liverpool. With this in mind we were expecting big things. And big things we got in terms of the stunning setting of the main restaurant. The main feature of the space is the huge glass ceiling with wrought iron and wooden beams, alongside quirky lighting. You immediately feel like you are somewhere special and you haven’t even looked at the menu.
We opted for the fixed menu, pre theatre style option which I think is a bargain. It does mean you’re restricted on time. (It’s available Tuesday – Saturday for lunch (12.00 – 2.15pm) and dinner (5.00 – 6.15pm). But for £29.00 for 3 courses (or £23.50 for two) it’s a great way to sample eating here without breaking the bank. Having said that if you really want to go all out then The Art School’s menu excellente (£69.00) or the full tasting menu (£89.00), but we were pretty happy with our fixed menu choice.
The menu varies but there’s four options each for starters and mains, as well as a sharing plate of four puddings. There’s also delicious breads and amuse bouche between courses. So you still get the benefit of this with the pre theatre menu. As you can imagine with fine dining, the food looks almost too good to eat. The restaurant is true to it’s name with the artistic efforts when it comes to food presentation. This is fine dining so the food can be fancy (no fish and chips here). Even if I was a bit unsure what to expect based on the menu description, each course turned out to be delicious and I would definitely recommend.
The wine list is extensive with wine available by the glass as well as the bottle. The prices range from £24 a bottle all the way up to £480 (for a very posh French red). So there’s something for all budgets. Needless to say we were closer to the lower end of the spectrum. As well as wine, I’d also really recommend the cocktails either with dinner or later by the bar. You need to vacate your table by 7.30pm if you opt for the dinner option. It’s a perfect excuse to head over to the bar to sample a cocktail or two.
A great place for something a bit different and a special occasion. It really is a stunning venue and offers a superb fine dining experience if you want to feel special. The food definitely exceeded expectations both in terms of presentation and taste. The chance to sample a few excellent cocktails at the bar after was the icing on the cake. Being so close to many of the bars on Hope Street means that an early start for the 3 course fixed menu isn’t really a problem.