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Sefton Park sizzler

Food and drink festival sees thousands fill their faces

Published on January 14th 2010.

Sefton Park sizzler

IN the event, it wasn't just the sausages that sizzled, as Sefton Park baked in Indian summer sunshine, this Sunday gone, for the 2009 Liverpool Food and Drink Festival.

Rich aromas of barbecuing burgers, curries, exotic Jamaican stews and traditional pasta sauces wafted from stalls set up by a big handful of players on the Liverpool restaurant scene.

And, as share prices in plastic forks rocketed, thousands of people were eager to eat.

Cut price delights came from The London Carriageworks, The Italian Club, Quynnys Cuisine, Delifonseca, Host, The Quarter, Alma de Cuba, Spire and dozens more.

The advancing hungry crowds, clearly recognising a good thing or two when they smelled it, resulted in chef teams being mobbed from 10 o'clock onwards.

Paul Askew's steak and oyster pie was one of the first things to be polished off from the menu, and people were queuing an hour for a £3 Mal Burger, the Malmaison Brasserie's signature dish, which is normally over £11.

“It's a brilliant bit of marketing for us, even if we're not making what we would normally on the food,” said Matt, the Mal's brasserie manager.

Restaurateurs and pubs (the Ship and Mitre were doing a robust trade pulling pints) had clearly seen the advantage of presenting their wares to a new

public that may not have been in before and Marco Pierre White even showed his face at one point, signing books and conducting a cookery demo for schoolkids.

“Who's minding the shop?” we asked Keith Haggis, from the eponymous Lark Lane wine bar who was busy making filled pitta breads. “No idea,” he shrugged, as the diddly-diddly of of Irish band Reckless Elbow sent the happy crowds jigging and reeling with splendid glee.

Unlike the somewhat posher Wirral Food and Drink Festival a couple of weeks ago at Claremont Farm, there were none of the farmers market crowd or cookware specialists represented to part you from your pounds.

Then again there weren't many Land Rovers or horse boxes that we could see, either.

As the sun went down, on this relaxed and cheery day (and after a very respectable Il Forno bolognese, thanks Hazel) Confidential, still worrying about Keith's earlier response, thought they had better check on his bar, to make sure it was OK.

A couple of bottles of Alsace pinot blanc later, it was.

Here are some pictures of the day.

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

Liverpool WagSeptember 14th 2009.

I too went to the Wirral food and drink festival the other week, thinking we'd get lunch there (two kids with me). Unfortunately, we couldn't get near the food, because of the queues. Screaming, starving kids at a food festival was the result, and just ain't right. This time we all had a big lunch before setting off and after witnessing the queues in Sefton Park yesterday I'm glad.

wappingSeptember 14th 2009.

I got there late and all that was left was some very salty goulasch (sic) in tiny portions. It was clear I'd missed much better fare but hey ho, I'm tardy. What did amuse me and my friends was some officious young posh totty with a megaphone telling us the festival was over and to all leave the park. How we lol'ed. It's still a public park of course, but from some quarters it would appear to belong to an elite bunch of heritage professionals.

angryofwestderbySeptember 14th 2009.

The organisation of this event was rubbish. Stall were squashed into an area of the park that was too small! Why wasn't the whole field area utilised? Ridiculous! Queues everywhere, ppl sitting in the centre of the stalled area getting almost trampled. they should have known it would be popular and made the area bigger. We did manage to get a delicious burger from the 'What's Cooking' stall. It was quick moving and very good. However we left soon after getting a drink from the beer stall because the squashing was getting a bit oppressive.Organisers take heed for next time!!!!!!

Milly TsiaSeptember 14th 2009.

Kitchener. There has never been a McDonald's in Red Square. You are under arrest! I always found the Soviet-produced 'bifsteks' to be better quality in any case.

Liverpool WagSeptember 14th 2009.

Nosejelly, you're back!

Nosejelly LawsonSeptember 14th 2009.

If people were really hungry there was no need to queue as there is an excellent cafe already in the park selling fine quality cheese pasties frozen chips and hotdogs with a choice of sauces (red, brown) or even mustard. It already attracts a wide clientele who often sit outside on the patio looking menacingly at eachother whilst twitching or muttering about inflicting violence. For families there is a swearing area where you can threaten to break your children's effing necks if they don't effing shut their effing gobs and a special area for mothers and babies were baby can scream as loud as it wants while you continue your mobile phone conversation and give the pram the odd nudge or stick the dummy back in it's eye. Often far better value for money than a day trip to Risley Remand Centre Bistro and right on our own doorstep.

GoosnarghapeligoSeptember 14th 2009.

Why not just go to the one in Liverpool then? Think of your carbon teethmarks.

AnonymousSeptember 14th 2009.

Is that Margi Clark in Keiths?

KitchenerSeptember 14th 2009.

In Russia you'd queue an hour for a burger when the McDonalds opened in Red Square.

AnonymousSeptember 14th 2009.

There was a lot left to be desired about the organisation. Stalls selling food were told they had to park their vans miles away, meaning they had to unload them and leave food and drink sitting in boxes in the hot sunshine. People were told they couldn't sell beer because San Miguel were sponsoring it, but some did anyway and there was ill feeling. Same with bottles of wine. Say what you like about the Wirral event,, but this just looked like a fast buck festival really

Pelham GroveSeptember 14th 2009.

Well said, Mr. Nosejelly! Your description of the ruffians around the cafe illustrates how Sefton Park has been in decline since about 1985.I blame the explosion in the numbers of boozers on Lark Lane, the speculative Barratt Boxes that were thrown up in Hesketh Grove and elsewhere and all the unpleasant incomers who have no sense of civic responsibility who just was to eat on drink on the street and in the park like tramps.

LiverpolitanSeptember 14th 2009.

Who allowed this public public park to be used as a market by the stinking money-grubbers? The same City Council that approved building on Wavertree Playground, a park bequeathed to the people of Liverpool ON CONDITION that it was NEVER BUILT ON, perhaps?This event sounds the acme of suburban barbecue vulgarity. it has no place on a public park. Next they'll be inviting people to park their cars all over it.

fruit and nut caseSeptember 14th 2009.

Anyone who stands in a queue for an hour for a burger needs their head testing

scrittipolittiSeptember 14th 2009.

Good idea and obviously popular: it was if anything too packed - probably because of glorious weather. However, there was a problem and that was the queue for food (the article mentions an hour wait for Malmaison) and the fact that much of the food ran out rather quickly. A solution to the former would be to do what they do in other food festivals, where instead of buying food in cash at each stall you buy tickets in certain denominational amounts and the stalls price their food accordingly. the tickets are then redeemed with the organisers. People spend more this way and in my experience you spend more time eating and less queueing.

Sefton ParkerSeptember 14th 2009.

The riff-raff these things attract! These people eat "burgers" for goodness' sake! Grown men dressed like toddlers!

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