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The Schlurp! Files

Private Dick Sleuth reports on the case of the missing ingredients

Published on December 9th 2009.


The Schlurp! Files

Helen Ramsbottom girded up her loins, rattled her purse for money and made off into the bright, freezing December day. Her mission was to find something liquid yet filling with which to warm her chilled bones on a stuttering heater day at Confidential.

“I put three full fillets of smoked haddock, naturally dyed too, in that chowder every day!” he shouted. “It just distintegrates slowly through the cooking process. That’s why it tastes so sodding fishy.”

Schlurp! was the destination. She came back with two chicken curry soups (£3.95 each) and two smoked haddock chowders (£3.95 each). As a generous soul she was also buying for Schofield, Gordo and Tristan Techhead (the computer addict with fingertips evolved over millions of hours to perfectly fit those minute indentations on keyboard keys).

Helen and Schofield, both having had a full education, ate from proper bowls. Gordo and Tristan, both having empty heads, went for the take out polystyrene.

Gordo and Schofield shortly afterwards declared their chowders full of smoked haddock heaven, rich, creamy, yet right up to scratch with big lumps of fishified crunchy veg. The spuds were perfectly saturated with the distinctive sauce, and almost sighed ‘job done’ as they broke under the teeth.

Helen and Techhead went for the chicken curry numbers. Again, there was satisfaction with the big blast of coconut and cumin and a real chicken tang, plus lots of ballsy al dente veg where nothing seemed cooked to buggery. “Could be criticised for being a bit too Moroccan perhaps,” said Gordo having nabbed a spoonful. “Bloody tasty though.”

It was Schofield who noticed it first, after giving his grub a hard stare: “It is lovely,” he said, “but there seems to have been a Sellafield incident in my bowl. All the fish have disappeared. They’ve suffered a mass extinction.”

Mr Technical quickly got out one of his many gadgets, this one for measuring chicken chunks in soup. “I’m detecting what could be residual amounts of chicken in the soup but the fowlometer shows a negative reading for chunks.”

Shocked silence. We love Schlurp! Schofield even loves it despite its wayward exclamation mark (he thinks only illiterate people use exclamation marks in anything other than reported speech. That’s because he’s a right snob).

Back to the point. The unasked question was, had Schlurp! got schloppy?

“Has Schlurp! got schloppy?” asked Techhead suddenly.

“I thought nobody would ask,” said Schofield.

Twenty minutes later and Alan from Schlurp! had Sleuth in a headlock and was about to pour boiling broth on his lovely full head of hair. Sleuth’s hat had fallen in a casserole.

“I put three full fillets of smoked haddock, naturally dyed too, in that chowder every day!” he shouted. “It just distintegrates slowly through the cooking process. That’s why it tastes so sodding fishy. As for that curry, it gets two and a half kilos of the best diced chicken in the thing every morning. That also distintegrates in the cooking process. Did you never do science at school?”

A released Sleuth asked for evidence. Alan pulled a big haddock from a locker and slapped it on the counter.

Sleuth asked for a pen to write all this down - he wasn't sure if he’d brought a pen with him or whether it was now adding inkiness to the neeps and carrot soup after the clinch in the kitchen.

Alan offered a pen, peace broke out, the sun shone forth and some fauns played outside on Brazennose Street.

Sleuth was happy (although maybe there'd be a bit more chicken with a bit of cauldron stir before dispensing). Generally though, Sleuth considered that Schlurp!’s honour had been saved for the Mancunian nation.

So this is the truth. Schlurp is still the same feisty independent, still as honest to its principles as it was when it began several years ago. It still provides damn good soups, casseroles, sandwiches and the best porridge (the secret’s in a soupçon of vanilla extract) in west central Manchester.

“Just one last thing,” said Sleuth, putting Schlurp’s pen in his pocket. “The editor wants to know if you can get rid of that silly, excitable exclamation mark in the name.”

“No,” said Alan. “By the way, if you want big hunks of meat, the turkey in the roast turkey and vegetable soup doesn’t go anywhere.”


Take-away rating: 15/20
Breakdown: 4/5 food
3/5 eating without mess4/5 service
4/5 speed of delivery
Address: Shlurp!
Unit 2,
Brazennose House East,
Brazennose Street,
Manchester,
M2 5BP
7:30–15:00 Mon to Fri

Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes. Following on from this the scores represent: 1-5 saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9 get a DVD, 10-11 if you must, 12-13 if you’re passing,14-15 worth a trip,16-17 very good, 17-18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. More than 20: Gordo gets carried away

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

NorthernGeezerDecember 9th 2009.

Do they do pies??...............................cos for anyone who dosnt know, i'm on a mission, hehehe.

johnthebriefDecember 9th 2009.

I miss Schlurp, used to have lunch there nearly every day when I worked on John Dalton street

smittyDecember 9th 2009.

I wish it was lunchtime...

DescartesDecember 9th 2009.

I wish it was 5pm

C 2 The GDecember 9th 2009.

I wish I had a 12 inch........... subway sandwich :)

Mark Garner, the PublisherDecember 9th 2009.

Jonathan, for the first time in the four years that I have known you I have to disagree with a score. Shlurp are great friends of mine as well, but no way did that tasting warrant 4/5. The stocks were, as always, amazing; but virtually no chicken in the chicken soup ( a bit Moroccan for me as you note) and no smoked haddock (dont give me that nonsense about it disintegating Alan, I can bloody well cook as well) is poor. Did it not occur to you Jonathan that the reason why there was lots of fish to show you was that they should have been in my soup? I have eaten that chowder nearly every week for two years before we moved out of Lloyd street and it was always perfect, and always had chunks of fish in it. In those days I would score it at 4.5/5, that was a qualified three. You big girl.

BlameDecember 9th 2009.

Mmmmm subway, gotta love cholesterol and unknown amounts of trans fats.

C 2 The GDecember 9th 2009.

Dont get me wrong I would rather have a Shlurp anyday but don't work near one. Mmmm might change my mind and have a Rice

Jonathan Schofield - editorDecember 9th 2009.

It wasn't me that went it was Sleuth. Sleuth is more than the editor.

SpartacusDecember 9th 2009.

I'm Spartacus!

SleuthDecember 9th 2009.

No, I'm Sleuth

scoteeeDecember 9th 2009.

Ha-ha-ha, nice one gordo,after reading the review I thought just that.The integrity is now restored.

SleuthDecember 9th 2009.

Oh and **** off Gordo may I intelligently add.

The Lampshade with AttitudeDecember 9th 2009.

Speed of delivery? what does that mean?

SleuthDecember 9th 2009.

It means how quick do they get it into your mitts. Personally I can't stand around waiting in take-away joints. That's not the point of them.

Jonathan Schofield - editorDecember 9th 2009.

By the way lots of Confidential food writers are having a rating food and drink summit over truffles this lunch time. We're going to come to an agreement over how we do it future for all food types. It'll be like Copenhagen only more important.

BlameDecember 9th 2009.

That's nice, do the rest of the staff get a treat too or is it just journo's that get things?

Sleuth - HR managerDecember 9th 2009.

The staff are quite happy doing menial tasks and learning table manners. They should be grateful.

The StaffDecember 9th 2009.

We are not! We're trapped in some kind of 80's nightmare, swinging dicks in the offices, cheap coffee in the jar, no end in sight and 13 hour days. We'd all kill ourselves but Gordo and Sleuth would only get more orphans from the mills to take our places.

C 2 The GDecember 9th 2009.

Man Con has gone truffles mad! I'm going to have try some these truffles at some point just to see what the fuss it about

MicheleHDecember 9th 2009.

Truffle soup or truffle pie anyone? Saw an advert in a gift guide the other day for these little mini oak tree thingies which you plant in your garden and apparently the roots are infused with truffles or something and then before you know it, wow, you get to buy a pig and hunt for your own tuffles in your backyard. Please?!!!! (that merits exclamation marks Jonathan).

DaychartsDecember 9th 2009.

Sleuth, I sincerely hope Ms R smacked your smug chops for the well-veiled smut you open with...

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