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Food and drink round-up (24/10/2011)

Polar Bar is hot, plus what's not, news and first looks of new places right in your very own manor

Written by . Published on October 24th 2011.

Food and drink round-up (24/10/2011)

Baby it's cold outside
AS the leaves fall, the nights draw in and a chill wind comes screaming up the river, Liverpool’s getting its first ever winter bar.

“Come and cosy up in the Polar Bar,” we are told.

We will - and here’s why. The Polar Bar comes hot on the heels – or should that be cold on the skates? – of Manchester’s enormously successful annual pop-up bar, The North Pole Bar.

It’s not just a beer counter this. Think warm rugs, Chesterfields to curl up on, hot toddies and cocktails and warming food – while outside, in Chavasse Park, there’s your very own ice rink on which to fall over.

If it’s anything like the Manchester "event", one of the city’s most talked about festive happenings, you can expect a huge marquee divided into areas.

The “chalet” is the main food space where tables are adorned with chequered cloths, while vintage skis, ice skates and snowshoes, along with cuckoo clocks, decorate the walls.

The “snug” includes vintage sofas, fire surrounds complete with life like plasma screen flames and antler lights hanging from the ceiling, while the actual bar area features snowy wooden cabins with snowflakes falling to the ground.

Events company Ear To The Ground are responsible for this one, so there will be plenty of ultra-cool activity too.

“Escape the icy conditions and warm your cockles,” they say. "Parky an eight foot, loveable polar bear is awaiting your visit...

The Polar Bar opens to the public next Friday (November 4) with a big party the night before.

We will be there, and, if you are lucky enough to get an invitation, make sure you RSVP with a big fat yes.


Ichi and scratchy
WATERLOO restaurant The Melting Pot has been threatened with legal action by an American franchise over the rights to the name.

The Pan Asian fusion venue on South Road opened two months ago and was said to be doing well. But then came a letter from a law firm demanding owner Eric Lim change the name immediately or face being sued.

It claims Mr Lim is infringing on the trademark of The Melting Pot Incorporated, a US chain of restaurants hoping to open franchises across Europe.

Rather than become broiled or even embroiled in a legal battle with a large company which would appear to use sledgehammers to crack any nuts on its menu, Mr Lim is now looking for a new name. 

One name that he might not wish to consider is that of another Pan-Asian fusion joint, which recently opened on Bold Street: Ichi-ban.

We cannot vouch for its lunchtime specials, or its ability to calm eczema, but lawyers for ointment makers across the world are watching.


One sheet is enough
Still in L22, they say size doesn’t matter. Well by now we all know it does – especially when you are turning away 50 covers at the weekend.

So the diminutive Little Pizza Kitchen has finally moved to a bigger premises, expanding its girth and its dough-making potential.

We visited in opening week at the start of this month, to discover the reason why people have been complaining about Blackpool Illuminations being rubbish this year: all the blazing bulbs had found their way here.

From the open kitchen, busy busy owner/chef Alex Lawless told us he still had dozens of tasks on his list to make the former snooker hall look bang on cue including a new sign and frosted glass on the enormous windows - and dimmer switches which have now given the place a softer glow.

On the glug front, we explored a very agreeable Millefiori Rosse delle Venezie (£20.95) which was as full bodied as one or two of the regulars. After a good wild mushroom frittata (£4.95), it became clear that the one sheet lasagne (£6.95) was the star of the four mains we tried, a long sheet of pasta assembled on the plate with a ragu pancetta and grana pedano cheese glaze. 

The future is so bright, they’ve absolutely got to wear shades.


More burgers, pasta and pizza, this time from Liverpool Football Club whose restaurant, the Boot Room Sports Cafe, marked its first birthday on Thursday. Can it be that long? The launch took place on one bitterly freezing night.

Boot Room
Since then, the Boot Room has been voted amongst the UK's top 10 restaurants by users on Open Table. In addition, it came out top of the pile in the north-west category in the Diners' Choice awards and was also elected the nation's most 'kid-friendly' bistro.

Manager Ben Darracott said: "It's been a good first year. Really good.”

With 230 covers, that's a lot of clattering cutlery.  

Rather than the Trophy Room, it is the Boot Room, then, that wins the silverware prize at Anfield this year.


Eyeball in a hi-ball, please
Liverpool waterfront restaurant Matou has created Halloween-themed cocktails in time for October 31.

Matou Halloween 020
The "Halloween Howler" is inspired by the bright colour of pumpkin jack o’lanterns. A mix of freshly squeezed orange juice, dark and white rum, brandy and Malibu, "this isn’t a drink for the faint-hearted," says barman Roshan, in fact it is a male drink. Oh, really?

Meanwhile, the Blue-eyed Martini uses a whole lychee as an eyeball to dress the glass. Mmm. See it? Eyes to the right...Although it could just as easily be a nipple in your tipple.

Do they have cocktail masterclasses? And if so, what do they use for pupils.

 “A berry pupil and a gory drizzle of grenadine blood makes this a true Halloween treat,” it says here in the blurb.

Ask for two and you’ll be seeing double, it doesn’t say here in the blurb.

Still, it's all better than a poke in the eye with a big cocktail stick, even though it looks like one.


Tricks and treats
THERE is such a thing as a free lunch this Sunday - provided you are under 12 and you are prepared to dress like Count Dracula or Carrie.

The Noble House on Brunswick Street has a day of spooky fun. Bring the family along for Sunday lunch and enjoy some traditional Halloween games with apple bobbing, face painting and magic tricks (3pm-5pm). Kids in horrific fancy dress eat free all day. T&C's apply.


Got any restaurant, bar or pub news? mail us and let us put you up there.

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AnonymousOctober 26th 2011.

How do I get an invitation to this Polar Bar?

Dr. Quim, Medicine WomanOctober 27th 2011.

I thought that 'Ichi Ban' was a rival product to 'Canestan'.

Doctor NookieOctober 27th 2011.

Precisely, although Canestan is what you ask for in Scotland when they've run out of Stella

Liverpool WagOctober 27th 2011.

Actually no, Canestan is what they use to turn your skin orange in those parlours in Smithdown Road

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