Yard & Coop
Hanover Street, Liverpool
Review by Matthew Smith
Usually quality and quantity are mutually exclusive – by having one, you’d expect to sacrifice the other.
Interestingly though, this isn’t the case at Hanover Street’s latest underground venue which prides itself on its 24-hour brined and buttermilk-coated chicken, made succulent by a secret mix of herbs and spices.
The thematic venue provided a welcomed break from the hustle and bustle on a crisp winter night.
As we entered, my dining partner and I were pleasantly surprised with the restaurant’s stripped-back décor which combined splashes of colour and exposed brickwork to blend authentic dining with flashes of an industrial environment.
Attentive staff offered us a choice of seating and so to fit in with the restaurant’s theme we decided to sit in a booth modelled on a chicken coop.
After being guided through an extensive menu we began with drinks.
I ordered the Oreo milkshake (£4.50) made with vanilla ice cream, cookies and cream, and my dining partner chose the Big Wave Golden Ale (£5.50) which together with other signature house brews, is on tap.
The first dish to arrive was a labelled selection of sauces (50p) and highlights included the Smokin’ Aces (Horseradish and Scotch Bonnet chilli hot sauce), Buffalo (the original New York hot wing sauce imported from the USA) and Korean (soy sauce, coriander, tomato and honey) options.
I also selected the Fill It Burger (£9) served with lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise and chips and topped with a dill pickle which pierced the brioche bun struggling to hold a full buttermilk fried chicken breast.
My dining partner ordered the Parma Bird (£12), combining a full buttermilk fried chicken breast wrapped in Parma ham with cooling Mamma Mia sauce – an Italian-style tomato and basil accompaniment –parmesan cheese, rocket, tomato and mayonnaise in a brioche bun, again topped with dill pickle and served with chips.
Each dish leapt onto the table with fresh vigour as if to form a colourful mosaic.
We combined our mains with a selection of side dishes and ordered chips garnished with Monterey Jack cheese (£3.50), Yard & Coop’s creamy house slaw (£3) to combat the searing heat of the Buffalo sauce, Chorizo Thins (£3.50) in crispy tempura batter and Cowboy Beans (£3) – a mix of beans and chicken and bacon bits in spicy tomato sauce.
However, whilst I understand the restaurant targets a wide demographic and is time constrained, the meal would have been improved with fresh, hand-cut chips instead of what appeared to be the frozen alternative.
Overall, it was clear nothing here was a limp attempt to replicate another restaurant. Instead, the product was a bold reimagining of convention, delivering classic flavours and original combinations to subtly pay homage to its deep roots.
Suitably impressed with its offering, we agreed to return.
With plans to expand further, it’s clear Yard & Coop can go from strength to strength, especially with its £5 lunch specials and home delivery service.
However, I do warn you that its portion sizes are not for the faint hearted!