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Food and Drink Confidential (Feb 2012)

A tale of two cabbages; Buffet Star shame; new Italian pizza joint and horsing about

Published on February 19th 2013.

Food and Drink Confidential (Feb 2012)

 WHAT would Richard Briers in The Good Life have thought?

It's a tale that sounds like a vegetarian version of Blood Brothers.

Two cabbages – separated at earth – which fate takes on totally different journeys - one 400 metres, the other more than 400 miles.

The twin savoys are raised on the same soil, and harvested just feet apart with only a fence between them.

Causeway Farm RuffordCauseway Farm RuffordBut what happens next is a story for our times, a shocking illustration of how we drain the world's scarce resources for no good reason.

One of those cabbages travels 400 metres from a field at Causeway Farm in Rufford, to a shelf at the farm's shop.

The other, in the next field, travels first 120 miles to Lincolnshire to be packed. Then it goes another 120 miles to Hertfordshire to be distributed. Then it travels 200 miles back up north to be sold at a famous supermarket in Burscough.

Rufford to Burscough, by road, is about 1.8 miles, but in the hands of our friendly neighbourhood retail giant, every little helps stretch the trip to 440 miles.

Quite apart from all that fossil fuel involved, you have to wonder how good for you those cabbages actually are by the time they return to home ground.

You needn't worry about any of that if you happen to be passing Causeway Farm Shop, on the A59, or perhaps returning from a trip to see the tweety birds at Martin Mere.

Causeway Farm CabbagesClick picture to read properlyThe shop sells all manner of healthy, tasty produce, straight from the soil, from sacks of spuds to purple sprouting broccolli and excellent free range eggs, which are nice and cheep.

The grim parable of the vegetable variety is told on a blackboard displayed in the shop and was written for schoolchildren in the hope that the next generation may one day end our wasteful ways.

The emotions are stirred just thinking about it. In fact, one can feel another epic coming on. Swap Yorkshire collieries for Lancashire caulis and you have the ultimate gritty northern drama – Brassica.

Buffet Star Liverpool 1#Star of shame

The greasy chopstick award
YOU can't say we didn't try to warn you...

“Grubby secrets of Liverpool's Buffet Star Chinese restaurant,” seethed the headlines at the weekend.

Liverpool’s environmental health inspectors were so unimpressed with Hanover Street’s all-you-can-eat that they considered shutting the place instantly, but at the time of their visit there were too many punters in, enjoying the, er, grub.

Rat droppings, “a major build-up” of  food debris and grease, and poor personal hygiene were among the horrors discovered in the kitchen.

To be fair, the owner says his wife had recently had a baby and he rather took his eye off the prawn balls.

Buffet Star LiverpoolBuffet Star's elevator: A place
for the bulky
Buffet Star Ltd and its managing director, Jung Wai Hui, pleaded guilty to 20 breaches of the Food Hygiene (England) Regulations 2006.   The director and the company were each fined a total of £24,000 and ordered to pay £5,216.05 costs.

Mind you, it was not so much the level of cleaning that concerned Liverpool Confidential food reviewer AA Grill, when he visited as the standard of cooking which amounted to a catalogue of contraventions against good taste.

Indeed, the grease on the walls noted by the hygiene officers was more than matched by that in the prawn toast, which, as Grill observed, “glistened with oil as it was squeezed between fingers”.

If only Grill had used a bottle of Flash when he was wiping the floor with the Buffet Star, they might never have ended up in this mess.

Club Pizza Liverpool %282%29


Bite spark

AS one greasy oven closes, so a wood-fired one lights up, this time in Newington.

For years, Deli Mamma, a tiny cafe in the street just off Renshaw, was a little pizza treasure. It boasted one of the few wood-fired ovens in the city centre, whose searing temperatures laughed at the gates of Hell. But the fruits of its embers were reserved only for those who could get there on a Friday night - the only time it made them.

Now Rosaria Crolla and family, from The Italian Club and Italian Club Fish, have stumped up the dough to take over the premises and rename it Club Pizza, for that burgeoning population of city centre dwellers who prefer thin and crispy Napoli to dumb-thumb thick Chicago Town when they are lounging on their buy-to-let leatherette. 

At around the eight quid mark, pizza names keep it in the family too and include a Mr Crolla and My Spicy Cousin Vinnie, named after Rosaria’s cousin, Vincent Margiotta, who owns Duke Street’s Il Forno and Sapporo Teppanyaki.

Find them at number 22 Newington for stuff, presumably, just like the Crollas’ mama makes. Maurizio & Antonino await your bidding. 0151 707 6566.

Cafe Sports England'BBM me for details'

Sporting chance
MEANWHILE, as his club looks for new ideas, so does LFC’s Jamie Carragher.

The soon-to-be departed defender is looking for a new mascot for his Cafe Sports England and kids are invited to design it in a half-term competition.

You have to be in it to win it, though - in other words you have to eat there. Wannabe Warhols, potential Picassos or a budding Banksys now is your chance to make a colourful splash, it says here.

Artists under the age of 13 can take part when dining at Cafe Sports England until 25 February.

It is looking for a cartoon which mirrors the sporting theme of the popular family restaurant which sells a healthy twist on food favourites. 

It is not known whether the chap in the picture, snapped by Confidential last summer, is the old mascot or what.

The winning design will greet diners at the Stanley Street and Liverpool One based restaurants. The winner will be personally congratulated by Jamie.

Cafe Sports England says it will provide the paint, pens and pencils free. All you have to provide is the dosh for the dish!  

564284_10151054002382066_1697767667_NRichmonds Deli %281%29
There, happy now?

Independent food retailers such as this one in Liverpool city centre (pic right) are chomping at the bit to remove themselves from the ongoing meat fiasco.

But as the story moves on a furlong or two every day, no butcher can be 100 percent sure that their beef, lamb or even chicken (if you believe last night's Panorama) isn't a teensy bit equine to a degree.

Not unless they slaughter it themselves, as in this favourite advertisment from The Framley Examiner (above). 

Next best is a farmers market. Dates below, for Liverpool anyway.

Farmers markets are open from 9am to 2pm on the following Saturdays:

  • First Saturday of the month - West Derby Village, L12 5HJ.
  • Second Saturday of the month – Woolton Village, L25 7RG.
  • Second Thursday of the month – University Square, L3 5TX.
  • Third Saturday of the month - Allerton Road (behind Allerton Library).
  • Fourth Saturday of the month – Lark Lane, L17 8UP.

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

AnonymousFebruary 19th 2013.

Crazy as the cabage story is you cant just look at food miles to judge the enviromental damage a product may do. During the winter veg that is flown into the UK from abroad often has a lower carbon footprint than similar products grown in the UK because we have to grow them in heated greanhouses. So local is not always enviromentaly best

Mind bogglesFebruary 19th 2013.

So you are saying that a jumbo jet from Peru carrying asparagus is better on the environment than some grown in a field in Formby in June?

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousFebruary 20th 2013.

Not when things are in season no. But if you buy asparagus in january the suff from peru/ kenya/ spain etc might well be better than the stuff from the UK

Paul WardFebruary 19th 2013.

Cabbages by RyanAir are bad enough - I don't know whether to laugh or cry when I see people buying supermarket "strawberries" - hard and tasteless - out of season, and paying a hefty whack for the privilege.

1 Response: Reply To This...
John BradleyFebruary 20th 2013.

You cannot transport cabbages on Ryan Air the space per cabbage does not meet EU Standards.

AnonymousMarch 25th 2013.

Why does anyone care if a pizza is named after some restaurant owner?

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