Castle Street, Liverpool
Words by Lawrence Saunders
I’m pretty embarrassed to admit it but I probably spent more time thinking about what I was going to wear for my trip to Neighbourhood than I did about what I was going to have to eat.
Now that’s not to say I wasn’t looking forward to trying the food, far from it; but if you’re visiting the new ‘place to be seen’ on a Friday night in Liverpool then you don’t want to turn up looking like a scruff, do you?
Nonetheless, any insecurity I had over my appearance evaporated the moment my date and I were seated by our friendly waitress. Perched up in the corner of the lavish former banking hall, we were given the perfect spot to admire our surroundings and soak up the buoyant atmosphere.
Despite the upmarket setting, Neighbourhood managed to create a relaxed feel where weekend revellers could enjoy a cocktail alongside loved-up couples out for a slap-up meal. Helping to subtly reinforce the laid-back US vibe were the waiting staff – casually styled in jeans and white trainers. But that’s quite enough fashion isn’t it; how was the food?
To start I went for the buttermilk marinated chicken lollipops (£7.50) because they sounded tremendous. Smartly presented with miniature Neighbourhood-branded flags, the chicken pieces were suitably succulent and possessed just the right amount of heat for my liking.
My plus one was properly impressed with her crispy duck, watermelon and beansprouts (£10.50), particularly charmed by the contrast in textures between the game and juicy fruit.
Time for mains and Neighbourhood was in full ‘late bar’ mode by now with an increasing number of patrons present purely for liquid refreshments. As I often do, much to the amusement/irritation of my regular dining partner, I ordered one of the most expensive items on the menu.
Fortunately the Glenarm Estate rib steak with Café de Paris butter (£24.50) tasted just as sumptuous as it sounds. The meat required minimal munching whilst the complex accoutrement was delightfully indulgent. Served with a side of chips, I went for a béarnaise sauce but peppercorn and mushroom options were also available.
After umming and ahhing between the miso black cod (£26) and the chicken dinner (£14.50) my dining partner eventually plumped for the poultry following a spot of gentle persuasion from yours truly. The dish’s unassuming title belied a plentiful construct of roast chicken, potato dauphinoise, savoury scone and gravy – in keeping with Neighbourhood’s American influences. Soon after tucking in my date knew she’d made the right choice. The chicken combined seamlessly with the rich scone even if it was slightly odd at first to see one smothered in gravy rather than jam and cream.
On to the pudding and after such a substantial main course neither of us could stomach taking a dessert on solo so we opted to share the cinnamon sugared fingered doughnuts with hot chocolate sauce (£12). Smartly presented in their own branded box, the doughnuts promised much but unfortunately it was ‘all fur coat’ as they lacked any proper flavour and it ended up being quite a slog to finish them, but finish them I did!
Don’t let my doughy disappointment put you off though. Neighbourhood is a cracking addition to the increasingly thriving food and drink scene in Liverpool’s commercial district and certainly worth getting dressed up for.