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Food and drink round-up - 21 Feb 2011

Hub Alehouse takes over Casartelli; International Scouse Night, potato caked and more

Published on March 16th 2011.

Food and drink round-up - 21 Feb 2011

Treat of the week
THE Casartelli building, holy of architectural holies in the city centre, has been in the news a lot over the past decade, and not always in a good way. The original was left to rot to such a degree that it had to be demolished (or so we were told), rightly causing much anger.

Cynics stood by while a good reproduction arose on the site – at the corner of Hanover and Duke Street, but nobody really got the chance to go in and see the result.

Now it is open to all. Those people behind Bistro Jacques, Pierre and Franc have got hold of it, opening the Hub Alehouse and Grill last week.

While the name didn't give much to be excited about, our recce there last week did. The huge ground floor has been transformed into a warm and stylish restaurant – or gastropub as they would have it – reminding us of a lost night in Soho or Shoreditch, but without the second mortgage to eat there.

In the wrong tenancy this could have all been so different, but, dare we say it, the Casartelli is in safe hands at the moment.

Convivial Liverpudlian co-owner Mark Friend (above in the tie) and whoever else have done such a job on the place that we were reluctant to leave. It was the soft launch, the place was packed to the rafters with Friend's friends and family, yet the service ran without a hitch. The authentic pub-grub was cooked, hand on heart as ever, to perfection, especially the grills. Although on opening night, we all know that's not how it's meant to be.

We will be back to review and score it properly some time soon.

“All four sites employ more than 110 local people,” Mark told us. And on that score alone they deserve some support.

File under “Early indications are good”.

Scouse proud
SEVERAL people have tried to organise a scouse day down the years, but never before has an international event been mooted – and never from as far away as Australia.

Graham Hughes, 31, is a scouser abroad - attempting to be the first person to travel to every country in the globe, by land. He already holds the Guinness world record for 133 countries in 2010, and plans another 51 this year. He is currently in Queensland, gagging for a bowl of scouse.

Graham's adventures, which he is undertaking for the charity Water Aid, already appear on National Geographic/Lonely Planet TV.

In his voyages, the former Bluecoat boy has acquired more Facebook friends than Mahatma Ghandi or Margi Clarke.

So when he created an event “International Scouse Night; Where: Around at your house,” this Monday (Feb 28) more than 700 of his pals in the Americas, the middle east and south east Asia were quick to say “I'm attending”.

Quite if they know what they are attending is anyone's guess: But we are talking about the stew, AND the identity here. “Everywhere I go in the world, in African villages, in big cities, they know about Liverpool, the Beatles, or the footy,” says Graham.

“Like the Irish, there are people with Liverpool roots all across the globe. Let's make this like St Partick's Day, but celebrating Liverpool everywhere, with a warm bowl of hearty scouse.”

You may have your own set of scouse-making values but, for the record, Graham uses beef, and his Australian girlfriend puts red wine in it.

Sacchhhre bleu!, as your auntie in Huyton might say.

Scouse birdFebruary 22nd 2011.

I am sorry, Graham, but red wine has no place in scouse. Nor does Worcestershire sauce and nor does beef.

Proper scouse is made with lamb or mutton as anyone in Liverpool will tell you.

Wine belongs in a glass, or in some French dishes.

London RoadFebruary 22nd 2011.

Good luck to them. Went at the weekend and a good time was had by all.

Surprise as we were dreading being greeted by a load of stuffed animals and no ale at the bar.

Champagne socialistFebruary 23rd 2011.

Upon your recommendation and with twenty English pounds in my wallet, I visited this new eaterie last night. Imagine my delight to discover that it caters equally well for vegetarians and I enjoyed a delicious Moroccan stew thing and several different beers. Lovely.

knob rotFebruary 28th 2011.

Yes this is the new millennium put what you like in, people always did, they just couldn't afford red wine in the olden days.

I wouldn't presume to tell anyone how to make scouse, I think it's one of those things like when you first start shaving you asked fellers in work how long a razor blade lasts-- and nobody would give a straight answer.

There has long been a theory that scouse was derived from Scandinavian labscause, about a year ago I was in a Norwegian bar in Surin N.E. Thailand and the special of the day was labscause so I took a chance. Despite being the special it took 45 minutes, but when it came it was excellent and very scouse-ish. The only drawback was the fairly ****ed-up bar owner (Scandi's always seem to be in that state in that part of the world) who kept coming over trying to be jovial and friendly but was just an irritating git. No doubt he meant well.

Anyway just thought I would mention it.

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