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Doing bird

We get taken into nick by the people at Jalons Bridewell

Published on January 14th 2010.

Doing bird

Tumbleweed was bouncing down Campbell Street, a thoroughfare in the back of the beyond that is Duke Street, earlier this week..

Ne'er a soul to be seen, but for the huddling Confidential team, mindful of its mission statement: “If you are not out, then you are not about”. It was blowing a gale, raining, dark. But where to take shelter.

Suddenly a beacon of light, above the ancient brick Bridewell that was first “Colin's” and now is “Jalons”, chose to shine on us. “Come in, Come in”, it would have urged, if it could have spoken. Nevertheless, we shuffled through the courtyard,

Jalon's Bridewell staged a huge opening bash last week to which the crowd who pile into places, piled in. It was a free bar and you can imagine.

This is a former lock-up, complete with jail cells, covered in velvet, in which you can dine. “A good place to meet a partner in crime,” quipped one of the team, and the Confidential presence suddenly seemed larger in the room.

We pressed on quickly upstairs to a large and pleasant dining room. We were led by Vlastimil, the very engaging manager, late of the Carriage Works and originally of Slovakia. We had turned up without warning. Would we like to stay for something to eat, on the house? He asked. With such hospitality on offer, we immediately tore our coats off and sat down, before he changed his mind.

There is a grand piano in the corner. Nobody was tinkling the ivories, though, so it was easy to eavesdrop if you were that way inclined. In the other corner, a champagne lounge area, complete with sunken ice buckets, in which to park yourself, and your bubbly.

As this is a jail, “doing bird” was the order, and so we tucked into supreme of chicken set on a kale and vegetable broth. This particular dish was far from gruelling, but a review is for another time.

Liverpool's restaurant trade is on the up. Capital of Culture has meant a new eating place virtually every week and this lot, who aren't new to the game with the Smithdown Road operation long established, seem to have their plan sorted.

It is one of a clutch of restaurants in that tiny area, while others have been heard to complain that the Big Dig, currently dogging Duke Street, is affecting trade.

Why not do what we did and take a walk around the back? We're not promising food for free, but they'll be glad enough to see you.

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

Ned KellyFebruary 26th 2008.

I've eaten at Jalons Bridewell on a couple of occassions it's a welcomed addition on the Liverpool diners map! It get very lively on Friday and Sat nights and attracts a nice crowd of people. Well worth a visit!

Bold st princessFebruary 26th 2008.

I'm delighted with the new Jalons Bridewell. They haven't 'alf done the place up nice! I've been a couple of times since the opening and even went to the opening party (mwah)and staff and customers all seem really nice, friendly people not at all 'yoberati' you'll be pleased to know. It's fast becoming one of my favourites!

John TiradeFebruary 26th 2008.

After looking at the menu outside, expected great things from this place. What a disappointment. The food was distinctly average and incredibly overpriced. Downstairs in the bar and where the cells are (you can only book a cell on a Saturday night for a minimum of six people) had a nice ambience. But upstairs we were greeted by crappy covers blaring out of the sound system, screaming children and Primark scallies, all shouting across the table at each other to be heard. The food was OKAY (although the cold crayfish starter was like eating rubber and the fillet steak was overcooked and unseasoned) but very overpriced. You can get much better for a lot less elsewhere. Nothing more than a glorified version of Caesar's Palace.

Stanley StreetFebruary 26th 2008.

From the report and photographs it looks like it ought to have been renamed the ‘Bluecoat Lounge Bar and Grill (with VIP area for the tie-less to suck lager from the bottle)’. Why is it that whatever we have that is worthwhile, long-standing, eccentric, unusual, charming, unique and Liverpudlian, it has to be gutted and made to look like everything else?

LPFebruary 26th 2008.

Been bridewell twice fantastic place great food great piano player fab girl singer and not expesive and very nice clientel keep it up

Stanley StreetFebruary 26th 2008.

The problem with this place is that it keeps changing. You recommend this place to acquaintances at your peril! It started off as a real ale pub with food and a reputable restaurant upstairs. Then it went all lager’n’alcopop, and now it’s called ‘Jalon’s’! Is it now going for the old footballer/yoberati clientèle?

Stanley StreetFebruary 26th 2008.

Oops! Wrong rant! Sorry!

Stanley StreetFebruary 26th 2008.

No offence was intended, o Bold Street Princess! It is just that the use in the review of the accursed expression “champagne lounge” caused alarm bells to ring. Whenever a trendy boozer opens and the name is suffixed by either ‘Lounge’ or ‘Bar and Grill’ it is a fairly sound indicator that there’s nothing there for people of taste and refinement. Also, isn’t ‘Jalon’s’ the name of that place on Smithdown Road where footballers go to get shot at? (I’m also wary of any place whose name end in apostrophe ‘s’)

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