Hardman Street, Liverpool
Review by Natasha Young
I had already become acquainted with Buyers Club’s bar and lively gig space, but its food menu was something I had yet to get around to. So when I heard the venue occupying Liverpool’s former Flying Picket had recently celebrated its first anniversary in the city, it was high time I gave it a try.
Expectations for the evening’s feast were high as I’d previously been drawn in by social media posts highlighting plates of lavish sounding ingredients, and we were pleased to be shown to a table in the informal, laidback bar area to enjoy it. The room had its usual relaxed vibe with music playing, stripped back décor and groups of friends casually enjoying drinks across the way.
With Buyers Club being known for its wine list, my partner asked the attentive expert staff to recommend a glass of red to get things going and he wasn’t disappointed with their choice. I, however, turned to the cocktail menu and took virtually no time at all to make my decision.
Whilst it offered a diverse selection of tea infused concoctions to whiskey mixes and vodka based beverages, the Garden Negroni (£7.50) instantly caught my eye as it brought my favourite gin and Aperol ingredients together in one glass. Garden mint, Cocchi Rosa and Maraschino were also added, providing a sweet yet strong and delicious drink to enjoy as I scoured the menu.
A choice of small plates was varied with some mouth-watering suggestions, and prices ranged from £6-£10.
I settled on the charred red mullet served with crab salad, avocado puree and crème fraiche (£9); and the southern fried chicken with cornbread, pickled watermelon and maple syrup (£7.50).
My fellow diner picked the Moules Marinere serving of Menia mussels in white wine sauce with parsley and toasted sourdough (£7.50); and the spiced culotte roast – marinated Hereford beef, chick pea puree, yoghurt and herb oil (£10).
Eager to try as much of Buyers Club’s attractive menu as possible, we combined our small plates selection with a large sharing board (£15), which enables diners to pick two of the three smaller British deli boards focusing on cheese, charcuterie or fish.
As it turned out, our double act of boards and small plates provided an ideal amount of food for two hungry diners, and made for an exciting range of ingredients.
The board was made up of cheese with pickles, chutney and sourdough, as well as smoked and pickled fish and seafood with aioli.
Pickled cockles which had a taste of the sea and anchovies with a salty flavour provided a fresh and satisfying seafood mix which was different to any sharing board we’d had before, and a range of pickled vegetables including carrots, onions and cauliflower as well as a strong and fruity chutney offered the perfect accompaniment.
As for the small plates, the chicken was crispy, crunchy and sweet, and an addition of popcorn worked really well alongside the watermelon. Meanwhile the spring onion added bite to the crab, and the avocado puree was smooth and refreshing alongside the red mullet.
The “melt in the mouth” beef was a star of the show for my partner, and the mussels were full of flavour.
Dishes were slightly more expensive than some of the other small plate offerings around the city but were totally worth it given their originality, striking mix of flavours and high quality of ingredients, making Buyers Club’s relaxed atmosphere and fine food the ideal combination for a date night or an informal occasion.