It’s term time again. For our sins, The flame and I are blessed with two, southern, grand daughters. Fresh up from the big smoke we decide to treat them and take them out for a big feed. Their city of learning is Liverpool. I decided there’s only one place to take the learned couplet – Camp and Furnace.
‘Camp’ in this instance refers to camping and outdoor pursuits, ‘furnace’ refers to the errr…… Furnace that’s set at one end of the big room inside.
This is a feeding hole like no other. Set in an old industrial unit in the ‘Baltic Triangle’, a good fifteen minute walk from the main metrop, this is a place that has to be seen to be believed.
The surroundings could be described as urban chic. First time round you could be forgiven for turning back, turning your map upside down or binning your google maps. Branding must be uncool round here. An old, rusty, stencilled oil drum, the only marker to suggest you have hit the spot. If you venture further into the lair the swish of an electric portal sweeps you into the spatial grounds within.
The industrial scheme continues inside. The bar area hits first, the bar itself to the left is built of marine ply and lit with trendy metal pendants. To the right a glorious, roaring contemporary fire. Beyond the bar area you enter the grand arena, or brick warehouse whichever you prefer! It’s here where the magic begins. To the right down in the depths of a huge vault, a raging inferno fuelled by cages of logs light up the ‘furnace’, its four orange eyes providing a glowing backdrop as punters pose for snaps. Ancient, rusted ‘craneage’ and girders hide in the rafters beneath a vintage glazed roof. Lines of up cycled, trestle tables and benches, each thoughtfully lit with wine bottle candles create a truly unique and welcoming atmosphere. Our little crew have a table for four to ourselves. There are numerous parties going on, each occupying their own sub sections of the plank like dining suites.
As it was a Sunday, the Camp sets it’s stall on providing a top notch Sunday Roast (between 1pm and 6pm). The main course is either 28-day dry-aged Lancashire Sirloin (£12.50), whole roast corn-fed chickens (£11.50 from the heart of rural Britanny) or heritage Herdwick lamb (£11.50). These all come served on wooden platters with locally sourced, seasonal vegetables. A mushroom Wellington is added for the veggies.
It is advised to order the main event before you turn up. We went for the beef and the lamb. The chicken comes whole and looked superb, but is recommended for three. I think a hungry twosome could have down quaffed it at a push!
There is the option for a starter as well as a desert. We decided to plough straight on for the mains but the starters sounded good, potato soup (£4) poached salmon salad (£6) or confit of lamb shoulder (£6).
The excitement racked up as the team of raffish young waiters and waitresses marched into the arena with board after board of meat, bowls of perfect roast spuds and more bowls of buttery veg. The rather wonderful, Irish lilted, Emma kept our table fed and watered and oversaw the delivery of our splendid feed. Four thick slabs of pink sirloin and four of (less pink) lamb kept the protein intake in check, great yorkshires, great spuds, roasted carrots, buttery cabbage and crispy kale provided the carbs and greens. Considering the quantities being put out the quality was very good. A minor quibble for the flame was that the veg and meat by the time it had made its way down the room was less than hot, but for me this was remedied by the thumping great jug of hot gravy that was gifted out like steins at a beer festival.
After the feast we opted for the two deserts. Essex girl No 1 Jess, went for the peanut butter cheesecake (£6) while Essex girl No 2 Nancy went with the flame and I for the four portion sticky toffee pudding (£12). The Cooktwit, for research purposes, was allowed a brief morsel of the cheesecake. It was very ‘peanutbuttery’ and a bit grainy in texture, but set on a great biscuit base. The toffee pudding came set in its own 12″, low slung bowl with a mug of piping hot, toffee sauce and a bowl of vanilla ice cream. It wasn’t ‘Cartmel’ sticky toffee pudding by any means, but once the hot jus had soaked in and the ice cream melted alongside it was heavenly. A great, comforting, hearty finish to a very enjoyable trough out.
As a minor aside, it is worth mentioning that it was uncomfortably cold at times. We had an industrial blast heater to keep us up to temp but as more came in we had to share and it did start to get a little uncomfortable. In winter this is not a place to take your granny for a cosy chomp! I would advise wrapping up a bit. But that is part of the fun. You can’t have an outdoor theme in industrial England and expect to lounge around in your ‘Y’ fronts!
In summary this is a truly magical place to come with the family and friends. The Camp has some great events throughout the year. The beer festival in June looks like a date! We will definitely be back on another day to try out the normal menu. All indications suggest that will be a triumph as well. Get yourself down here, it is truly a special and has to be sampled to be believed.
Camp and Furnace
67 Greenland Street
Liverpool L1 0BY
(0151) 708 2890