Tag Archives: The Elephant 1934

Top Ten Dishes of 2014

Not wishing to miss out on a shameless plug for the Cook Twit blog and a chance to rehash some of my earlier work with minimal effort, I thought I’d jump full square on to the food bloggers best of 2014 bandwagon. 2014 has been a great year for grub. Though thanks to the fast diet I’m 6lbs lighter!

As one mate says to me “Do you ever have a crap meal”. Well generally because I go to places that other foodies on twitter have recommended, the answer is No. So I should add if there are places not mentioned below who know I’ve visited them. It is no slight, it is merely the fact that these had a slight, undefinable edge. There are thousands of dishes at number 11 !

Its my view that a quality dish chimes when several factors gel. Apart from the obvious ones, flavour, ingredients, skill of the chef, I reckon the circumstances around the meal play a big part. Degree of ‘hungriness’, atmosphere, who you are with, mood, expectation, service and a whole host of ‘soft’ issues. With this in mind you may find some of my choices a little surprising. But here goes in no particular order.

10) I love fish and chips. the best I had this year was sat on my own in the sunshine in Albert Square Manchester. It was served in a cardboard tray by The Hip Hop Chip Shop as part of the Manchester Food Festival. Simply superb with lovely skin on chips and chillied onion ring. But a special mention should go to The Elephant 1934 and the Arnside chippy who both came a close second.

Great fish and chips
Great fish and chips

9) I love seafood and pasta. I had no better of both at Salvis in Manchester. Seafood tagliatelle. Stunning.

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8) I love brunch. Seems to have become very popular this year. I had no finer than at Beef and Pudding. A vast helping for £9.95. The Flames Egg Benedict equally good.

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7) I have a raging sweet tooth. Always save my second sweet stomach for afters! Had an amazing marmalade and ginger cheesecake, served in a kilner jar whilst sat by the Thames in London on a glorious summers eve. The Tied End Cottage Pub, Teddington. Incredible. The warm peach tart at The Assheton Arms deserves a mention though.

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6) Love my ‘dirty’ street food. Mumma Schnitzel set up an obligatory Citroen H van in Spinningfields, Manchester (sadly now departed) and served up the finest chicken schnitzels known to man. A standard Friday lunch treat. Even better the ‘specials’. My favourite the ‘Hanoi Hanoi’. Thai flavours mingled in with a kick.

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5) On a similar theme, Twitter had served up frightening images of the Solita Christmas Burger. I was hooked. All expectations were met (apart from the candied chipolata on top). Christmas dinner in a bun.

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4) Love a pie,  I regularly buy Great North Pie Co versions, but had a couple of beauties outside this year. After a six hour drive and starving, I think The Church Green, Lymm, chicken and root veg just shades The Roebucks mutton pie. Nags Head did an amazing chicken leg and ham one too.

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3) Went to Mughli on the curry mile in Rusholme, Manchester for the first time this year. Had their signature seafood biryani. Superb.

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2) Went to Sicily this year for the hols. Fish is big there. Had a great big dorado served on a platter with potatoes, veg and gravy at ‘La Grotta Azzurra’ in Toamina. Served at the table. Awesome.

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1) Anything at The Pig On The Beach Hotel. Went for a week for our 25th wedding anniversary. All ingredients grown or caught within a couple of miles. I had a slab of turbot caught that morning. Chef told me in the day that it was coming. It doesn’t get fresher than that.

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So there you have it, the top ten. Like I said though, there are hundreds of number elevens. Well done chefs a great year. Lets see what we can have in 2015.

The Elephant – Woolton, Liverpool

“Another quality food and drink emporium from the Simon Rimmer stable”

It was a rather subdued young relative that The Flame and I picked up from her newly acquired abode on the outskirts of Liverpool. Another session of student life beckons. However, the poor girl was minus her usual ‘bonhomie’ on account of her having her wheels half inched within hours of arrival by the local hub cap collection service. We figured an honest feed would win over the day. A quick plug into the ‘smartish’ phone revealed that Simon Rimmer’s new gaff ‘The Elephant’ was a mere five miles away. We pointed the steed towards leafy Woolton.

Always had a good meal at a Simon Rimmer place. He likes his fresh local produce, and that is what’s promised at The Elephant. Earle in Hale is good and his veggie haunt ‘Greens’ in Didsbury (reviewed here) is always good for a decent feed, so I reckoned we were in for a treat.

Very smart from the outside
Very smart from the outside

We slowly entered the sunlit village. The Elephant homed into view. And what a splendid sight. Dappled in bright sunshine punctuated with copious amounts of brightly coloured foliage. It really did look the part.  A smart outdoor area was being heavily utilised, we doubted we would get in.

Nice outdoor bit, nice branding!
Nice outdoor bit, nice branding!

However, the three of us were quickly ‘ooshed’ to a bright wooden booth complete with scatter cushions. Water based restoratives were quickly provided by the bright, smartly uniformed young chaps and lassies. All was well. As it was a Sunday the menu was a simple affair reflecting the British tradition of a hearty Sunday roast.

The logo. Simple menu
The logo. Simple menu

First impressions of the newly opened unit were entirely favourable. Farrow and Ball and the branding lads have done well here. The duck egg blue paintwork looked smart and contemporary. Any doubts that you were in The Elephant are quickly dashed as there are elephants everywhere, be it pictures or sculptures. There is a bit of a logo fest going on. Even the cutlery tins are branded! Still, it all looks rather agreeable. You could bring your mum here no trouble.

Elephants are everywhere
Elephants are everywhere

And what about the grub? Well as I said its simple Sunday fayre, but by hokey its good. The Flame kicked off with the healthy option. roasted salmon on a feta salad (£9.95). She concluded all was well, particularly liking the feta which gave the whole ensemble an acidic lift.

The roast, salmon salad, fish and chips
The roast, salmon salad, fish and chips

 

The aforementioned, hurting young relative was suitably perked to crash through a sensational Fish, Chip and minted mushy pea fest (£10.95). I’m a great lover of the traditional chippy tea and this was as good as any I’ve seen. I think you’ll agree from the image. Our ordinarily difficult to please student was well chuffed. I managed a quick forkful and concur that quality is the ‘mot juste’.

I continued my unofficial quest for the best Sunday Roast beef. At £9.95 this was well up there with the best. The beef was rare, tender and very tasty, just as I like it. All the veg wonderfully cooked and all piping hot.  The only issue for me was that I wasnt able to indulge in the vast array of craft beers that were on offer. Such was the choice that a beautifully presented (and branded) booklet was on hand to help. A previous nights excessive binge on the ‘hop’ had led The Flame to suggest I should refrain on this quaint afternoon occasion.

a bit more fish & roast, brownie and cheesecake
a bit more fish & roast, brownie and cheesecake

For research purposes the baked cheesecake with raspberry sauce (£4.95) was tested. And it was proper. No moussey mess here, proper baked job, lovely.  The vexed student commiserated with a chocolatey brownie and caramel ice cream (£4.95), again voted in with a considerable majority. No re-election needed here.

Branded tins, craft ale, branded tab slate
Branded tins, craft ale, branded tab slate

All in all a cracking afternoon. The bill came to £46.95 for the three of us and not a bad course. The service was superb, swarmed as we were with young, pleasant enthusiastic waiters. We reckon we’ve found another favourite and if you fancy something really different tagged round the back is ‘The Liberty Tavern‘ an American diner full of lobster and pancakes. We’ll be trying that one as well soon.

The Elephant, 1 Woolton St, Woolton, L25 5NH

0151 909 3909

http://www.theelephantwoolton.co.uk