Cheese & Co
Derby Square, L2
Review by Natasha Young
Cheese & Co may not be the first restaurant in Liverpool specialising in the dairy favourite, but it certainly stands out amongst the city’s offering.
Situated in Derby Square, the eatery has nabbed the perfect spot to capture a continental vibe which goes far beyond its comprehensive selection of cheeses and wines originating from more exotic European destinations.
My dining partner and I visited late on a bright yet breezy Saturday afternoon and, whilst the edge of the commercial district is rarely our go-to destination for a weekend bite, we were won over by the setting as we perched ourselves next to the window.
The view looking onto the square with some grand surrounding buildings and the historic Queen Victoria Monument was somewhat reminiscent of the sprawling squares often thriving with pavement café culture in the likes of France and Spain. And if you’re lucky enough to call by during the warmer climates we’ve been enjoying, then a spot on one of Cheese & Co’s outdoor tables seems the ideal place for a break from shopping or working to watch the world go by.
Onto the all-important menu and, as avid cheese fans, our expectations were high for an eatery that’s so dedicated to the food it’s named after it.
Whilst there’s an option of a set meat board (£8 small, £15.50 large), the choice to customise a shareable cheeseboard makes up the core of the menu. It’s reasonably priced, as diners can choose one cheese (£4.95), two (£7.50), three (£9.95) or four cheeses (£12.50) and each board comes with crisp breads, celery, sauerkraut, quince and ginger cake.
We picked four cheeses and gladly took on board recommendations from the friendly expert staff as we deliberated over the varied selection.
Cheeses ranged from North West-made to products from southern France and La Mancha in Spain, with vegetarian options also included.
We eventually opted for the Affineur Walo Red Wine, Walo’s Gruyere AOC as suggested to us, the Crottin de Chavignoi goats cheese and the Cornish Blue.
As usual, my dinner date was keen to order olives on the side (£3.95 and served with bread). A pot of black olives marinated with chillis made a tasty alternative to the green or mixed varieties usually served.
The full-flavoured, strong smelling Affineuer Walo was a cheese highlight. I’ve previously tasted wine-washed varieties which have been mellow in strength, but this had a flavour that was full and lasting.
The gruyere was delicious and not too overpowering, working particularly well when accompanied by quince.
The Crottin de Chavignoi, which had a nutty hint, helped to rekindle my love of goats cheese which had once been my favourite before being ruined by too many chalky supermarket versions.
The Cornish Blue, a former world champion of cheese, didn’t disappoint either.
As we rounded off our trip to the relaxed eatery, which was playing host to social food-sharing groups and quiet couples alike, we couldn’t resist a cake dessert.
Unfortunately the salted caramel, chocolate and pretzel brownie (£3.25) was out of stock – if it tastes as good as it sounds then no wonder – so we happily shared an orange and pistachio cake (£3.25) instead.
The gluten free sweet finale was beautifully presented, light and served with a creamy frosting.
As we stood up to leave, satisfied with our cheesy feast, a wall-mounted chalk board which had been hidden behind my partner throughout was unveiled, highlighting a selection of delicious sounding sandwiches and salads.
Already I sense a lunchtime return to Cheese & Co coming on!