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Sunday Dinners: Elephant Pub and Bakehouse

Destination Woolton: WAGs, woods and a big long wait

Written by . Published on October 14th 2014.

Sunday Dinners: Elephant Pub and Bakehouse

Where this time?
The Elephant Pub & Bakehouse, Woolton Street, Woolton, L25 5NH. Tel: 0151 909 3909. Web

Ooh, the rebranded 1934 Famous Elephant pub headed by charismatic Sunday Brunch chef Simon Rimmer and the people from Revolution bars
Yes, Confidential has written a lot about it, here and here.

Why go there?
Because it sounds great. It is Sunday and Liverpool remains short on destination boozers doing roast dinners.

And before or after your lunch you can breathe in the surroundings of this most picturesque village. Go for a tramp in Woolton Woods (still), admire the pretty flowers (several Woolton in Bloom awards), or make like a Day Tripper and do The Beatles (John Lennon first met Paul McCartney in the grounds of St Peter’s church).  

Elephant_Pub_And_Bakehouse_Woolton %281%29

What's the pub vibe?
L25 remains a des-res postcodes for those who have made a few bob and this is exactly what's wanted out of their boozer. Expect to see toddlers suited and booted in Armani and Ralph Lauren, quietly soaking up the atmosphere on their iPads, while Cricket-clad yummy mummies and dads sip large chilled pinot grigios and pints of Stella, although obviously not together. That's asking for it.

What’s on the table?
Sunday lunch is served from noon to 8pm. Roast “local” beef; roast loin of pork and crackling, breast of Shropshire chicken or a vegetarian pecan and feta roast. 

Add roast potatoes, roast carrots and onions, buttered cabbage, broccoli, Yorkies and lashings of gravy. £9.95 all in, to you.

Sounds positively Elephantine! We should go hungry.
Er, we do go hungry - and we stay that way for rather longer than we expect.

How d'ya mean?
Service is not hurried, Sunday gone, to say the least. Trade is brisk when we do a walk-in, half way through the glorious autumn afternoon, sunlight dappling the pale eggshell walls.

Pork is over, if you want it. There is, however, plenty of the rest, which we request plenty of, and wait excitedly, admiring this handsome renovation.

And we wait, and we wait. Is there some lone Basil Fawlty-type in the kitchen, we muse, headbutting an imaginary sous chef? The suspense begins to build as the clock ticks by half an hour. 

"Any sign?", we wonder of one of the passing, check-shirted waitresses.  Some time later, she returns from the pass with news. 

"The kitchen is a bit behind... we're busy today," she smiles.

So it would seem. "Still, is there an ETA?"

No, she cannot say. "Would you like some more drinks?"  

Another 15 minutes comes and goes. Time to pluck uo courage and ask the same of another attentive staffer.  "We're busy," she confirms, with a smile.

Oh stop whimpering, it does nobody any good.
Is right, so we while away yet another quarter of an hour watching the sun drop in the sky and stealing surreptitious glances at the fat plates of food presented to the party at the next table. The ones who arrived after us. 

Elephant_Pub_And_Bakehouse_Woolton %287%29

Voila! Dinner is served.
Quick, let's get the last of the negatives out of the way and dive in.

Beef (three slices) is thick, dense and as lean as a WAG with a set of dumbells. Unfortunately, it posssesses a not-dissimilar texture and flavour: too fast a cooking for the cut, one suspects. It is chewy to the point of jaw angst and deep frowning. Have you had any form of facial Botox lately? If so, this is not the dish for you.

The supreme of chicken is miles better, meaty and moist with a golden crisp skin. And everyone gets gorgeous fat shards of sweet roasted carrots, enlivened further by red onion cooked down in the same tin. Greens are generous and cooked bang on.

What about the roasties? The Yorkshires?
The former is missed off one of the dishes, but this is quickly put right.  A mixed bag: some spuds lack the floury crunch, others are better. None great. And that necessary pomp and puff that makes a good Yorkie so memorable has departed today, rendering these examples rather flaccid. That said, nothing is going to remain on these plates for long. No questions asked. Jings, imagine if they took it away again.

Elephant_Pub_And_Bakehouse_Woolton %285%29Pecan and feta roast wins the dinners

What if you are a vegetarian?
Congratulations, today you win the dinners. While Simon Rimmer does not work in The Elephant kitchen, as such (and he’s a bit busy doing that telly thing on a Sunday anyway) it’s his menu and non-meat dishes are his forte.

d pecan and feta roast, the whole nuts lending bite and earthy, savoury tones to balance the creaminess of the cheese, topped by soft, dulcet filo pastry.

With onion and flecks of tomato and green cabbage, it never give the impression of being a consolation prize, but rather draws on the philosophy of Rimmer's vegetarian restaurant, Greens: “It's not your lifestyle but your tastebuds we care about.”

Elephant_Pub_And_Bakehouse_Woolton %284%29Fish is one for the Evertonians: 'Liverpool battered'

What if you don't like Sunday roasts?
There are plenty of burgers and pizzas to be had. Or fish and chips (£10.95), a gleaming, super piece of Fleetwoood haddock which Evertonians might enjoy simply for its description: "Liverpool battered". 

Something for after?
The chocolate brownie (£5.95) is a small, cocoa hit of crunchy-gooey perfection, washed in a dark choc sauce and served with a side dish of expertly whipped cream. 

Strawberry fudge sundae (£5.95): ice cream, fruit coulis and cream served in a half pint beer pot with surprise chunks of swampy fudge towards the bottom, is also a total treat. 

Elephant_Pub_And_Bakehouse_Woolton %288%29Brownie points

"Was everything all right?" the barmaid beams as we settled up. "Well, slow," comes the reply. "Food took an hour to come."

"Oh, I am so sorry," she says, genuinely dismayed, handing back the card machine. "But everything else was OK?" 

They have done a nice job on the Elephant, but as we switch on the car lights and make the 13-mile journey home there is plenty of time to reflect on the notion that even the best of us can struggle to cope. Perhaps then it is better to risk a grimace and turn people away if you are going to be this popular, and stay popular, like they have no problem with on Sunday feasts at the Camp & Furnace. On the other hand, maybe someone just threw a sick day.

Bring snacks.

Elephant_Pub_And_Bakehouse_Woolton %283%29

Unless otherwise stated, Liverpool Confidential food critics dine out unannounced and pick up their own tabs. Angie Sammons occasionally tweets @twangeee

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Latest Rants

Phillip Lawler

I will visit this place once the management and staff have got their act in order.

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seaman staines

Well they say that 'love comes in spurts...'

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Just like the swingers room

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John Bradley

This is a menu for Laconia in 1938, it doesn't look that great.…

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