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Midweek specials: Blackburne Arms Grill Night

Catharine St pub gets off to a searing fresh start

Published on September 17th 2013.

Midweek specials: Blackburne Arms Grill Night

When? Every Wednesday – all evening.

Where? 24 Catharine Street, Liverpool 8. 0151 709 9159 to book.

The deal: £12.50 main course including a drink.  

What happened to steak night for under a tenner?
Forget all that. The Blackburne Arms is under new management. Out go the massive plasma screen tellies showing wall-to-wall Sky Sports, and out goes the ever-popular budget steak night. 

In is a rather classier proposition – Grill Night. 

It's all been happening with Catharine Street's pubs this year.Not half. First we had all that hullabaloo at the Caledonia, in May, but on the corner with Falkner Street, another tide was changing.

For some reason, the pretty Blackburne Arms, with its York stone flagged floors and cosy ambience, has never really fulfilled its potential.

The last decade has seen it unsuccessfully grapple with the pretensions of a gastropub only to nosedive into the grab-'em-in-with-Groupon market. 

But no more?
No Sir. The latest reinvention, so far, shows all the shoots of success.

The accommodation over the bar has been given a rather tasteful makeover and the Blackburne is taking guests once more. This potentially makes it one of those rare things of beauty in Liverpool: a proper boozer with bedrooms. 

What about the food?
The kitchen has been exorcised: hosed down, stripped down and refitted, complete with a new chef, Jack Farthing, who tells of hot nights down on the tools at the Restaurant, Bar and Grill in Brunswick Street.

Farthing first donned the whites at Marco Pierre White's Yew Tree Inn, in Berkshire, during, he says, the enfant terrible's reign.

All of which might explain why the Blackburne is suddenly sending out some very good, honest plates of food, seven days a week; from breakfast-time until you've-stopped-caring-time.

So what do you get for £12.50 of your hard earned on Wednesdays?Choose from the following dishes: 10oz rump steak, 8oz ribeye, chicken supreme, seabass fillet with Béarnaise, hollandaise, or peppercorn sauce. Chips or new potatoes, salad and a choice of drink: glass of wine, bottle of beer, a pint or a soft drink. 

Blackburne Liverpool %286%29Chicken supreme

Chicken supreme? Isn't that pub grub from the past?
Chicken supreme was not the favourite of 1970s, Dubonnet-soaked, car-key-swinging dinner parties for nothing. 

It remains, arguably, the best poultry cut, combining a skin-on, breast on the bone with wing attached. It gives succulent results but you rarely see it in supermarkets, and you have to ask the butcher especially or make a big mess in the kitchen. 

So here, pan fried, it is everything it should be. Moist, tender flesh, lots of it, lies beneath crisp, golden skin. Here you may learn, with great pleasure, why it was once the king of  the cordon bleu cookery book and the pub menu. Supreme by name, supreme by nature. 

Blackburne Liverpool %285%29More bang for your bull

How about a cheeky midweek steak?
Manager Tom Clayford-Well tells us he's gone to great lengths to make sure beef lovers get more bang for their bull, so all meat on the new Blackburne menu comes from award-winning butcher Bexley's.

Tonight the ribeye is the bargain of the bill on the grill. Its marbled flesh had just the right amount of give for medium rare. It was as juicy and relaxed as Britney Spears on a night out, and served with a flourish of proper, textbook bearnaise.

It laughed all over the other pub steaks tried in Liverpool this year - and many of the twenty quid restaurant ones too.

Chef Farthing's time over the hot iron bars at RBG and Yew Tree has not been in vain.

Special mention too for the first-class maris piper chips and even for the tumble of sweet grilled cherry tomatoes. 

Blackburne Liverpool %284%29
Hang about, what's that in this picture?
It's pressed pork belly (£12.50), slow braised. Bad, and in the best of ways. It is the pub's stand-out item, they say - complete with cracking crackling, a scattering of spicy chorizo and broad beans in an earthy, dark veal jus and the creamiest mash cloud.

It's not on the grill night menu.
No, but it's a fantastic reason to go back another night. Couldn't resist it, you see.

Would there be anything else?
Liverpool Confidential's operatives are not known for restraint when let off the leash in a pub, so didn't stop at the one glass of included wine. Instead they went on to order a big full-bodied bottle of 2011 Corbieres whose price they can't remember but it was “under £15”. This also came handy for glugging back when the huge and varied cheese board (£4.95) came. 

Blackburne Liverpool %282%29
On this performance, a welcome breath of fresh air on Liverpool city centre's rather tired pub food front. 

And speaking of tired, all this may make falling into that Delta or stumbling up the steps of the 86 a difficult prospect. Of course, you could stay over. But that's another story and would make you a dirty stop out.

At £45 for two (including wine and cheese) the food, drink and candlelit setting on Grill Night make this an entirely reasonable way to cheer up a midweek evening. 

Incidentally, is the quiz still on, on a Wednesday?
Oh aye.

Blackburne Liverpool %281%29

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9 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousSeptember 18th 2013.

Let's hope the "new management" doesn't put on a bargain 2 for 1 Sunday lunch offer (through Groupon) then refuses to honour the deal. Or maybe they should - to entice back the many disaffected ex-customers who've never been back since.

1 Response: Reply To This...
EditorialSeptember 18th 2013.

Funnily enough, we wandered in and did a Sunday Dinners review there about two years ago goo.gl/j7XVCp… and the place was heaving with people there on a 2 4 1 Groupon deal, which is why we mentioned it. The staff were overwhelmed, couldn't cope and turned us away. When we told them we knew nothing about any deal and were paying full whack they found us a table straight away. This is definitely a new management and owner, though, in case there was any doubt, and we will send someone in to see what they can do with a Yorkshire pudding, at some point in the future, and report back accordingly.

Darth FormbySeptember 18th 2013.

In the late eighties you could get a free Sunday dinner in here. Do the new owners know the difference between cheese and a bike rack then? The last ones had 'panier' on the menu.

Darth FormbySeptember 18th 2013.

By the way, it's still Belly Pork, not Pork Belly.

Ah NostalgiaSeptember 19th 2013.

In the late seventies it was frequented by a young "working girl" who had "sweet and sour" on either breast.

Ah NostalgiaSeptember 19th 2013.

Classy young lady. All of her tattoo's were spelt right.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
John BradleySeptember 19th 2013.

How much did she charge you to let you give her an all over spelling check?

AnonymousSeptember 19th 2013.

Were they punctuated correctly?

Darth FormbySeptember 20th 2013.

Surely you mean inflated

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Phillip Lawler

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

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

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