Restaurant Review: The Art School

The-Art-School


Ten-courses of culinary art in historic surroundings – Camille Allcroft pays a visit to The Art School in Liverpool, a restaurant housed in the lantern room of what was once the Victorian Home for Destitute Children


Opening his own restaurant was the fulfilment of a lifelong dream for Chef Patron Paul Askew. He has made no secret of his ambition to bring Liverpool its coveted first Michelin Star, a goal which could be growing closer judging by The Art School’s inclusion in several notable restaurant guides. The man himself is softly spoken and humble in manner, with a sparkling enthusiasm for all things food; his passion for regional ingredients is the cornerstone of his culinary style.


The venue


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Walking in to the Art School conjures up the hushed refinement of a bygone era. A wood burning stove crackles merrily in the bar area, whilst the dining room has an air of timeless elegance underpinned by contemporary details – such as an accompanying soundtrack of ambient dance which brings a touch of the Balearics to Liverpool.


The food


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We glimpse chef and team absorbed in their work as a glass of Charles Heidsieck Champagne arrives alongside seasonal canapés – a sliver of succulent lamb loin, plump marinated olives and a beetroot macaron which packs in a riot of earthy flavour.

We devour the bread selection of focaccia, pain aux céréales and rosemary soda bread, before an amuse-bouche of velvety white onion velouté poured over shallot crisp and purée. Pan roast fillet of Turbot with Filey crab, cucumber pearls, pomme mousseline and wild mushroom beurre blanc is the first of two fish courses and the cucumber adds freshness while the beurre blanc manages to be both rich and light.

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The second, pan roast fillet of Peterhead hake with haricot beans, Southport smoked pork, buttered Savoy cabbage and Menai mussel sauce is a beautifully understated dish. We move on to slow-cooked belly of Saddleback pork, with sweetly tart dried fig jam and roasted almonds. The wine pairing of a fruity 2016 Fantini Sangiovese brings in notes of Morello cherry to complement the tender pork excellently.

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Next, a bowl of pepper crusted Goosnargh duck breast with golden beetroot, sweet potato, charred chicory and tales of the Orient red tea sauce has incredibly subtle layers of flavour. A breast of Northop wood pigeon with pan-fried foie gras is given a tangy bite by preserved Frodsham Victoria plums. The last of our savoury courses, Mr Ward’s loin of ‘Red Deer’ venison with girolles and black truffle, cavolo nero, parsnip purée, pink peppercorns and damson jus arrives and the bold truffle is softened by the earthy parsnip while the venison is cooked perfectly.

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Lychee and Gewürztraminer sorbet with poppy seed crumble and tuile makes the perfect palate cleanser, before we progress to an indulgent coconut panna cotta with Guanaja cremeux, spice cake, raspberry foam and chocolate soil – an impressive recipe from talented pastry chef Daniela Tucci, which completes the ten course extravaganza.


The verdict

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The Art School manages the rare feat of combining the traditional with the contemporary and it is clear how much work goes in to everything which comes out of the kitchen, as well as the exemplary standard of service from the knowledgeable team. For an all-encompassing gastronomic experience, this is a restaurant not to be missed and it easy to see why it is widely regarded as one of the best in the region.

Make it happen
Prix Fixe from £25.00 for two courses.
Menu Excellence £69 per person.
Tasting menu £89 per person.
Where: The Art School, 1 Sugnall St, Liverpool L7 7EB
Bookings: Phone 0151 230 8600 or visit www.theartschoolrestaurant.co.uk

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