In a nutshell
Buyers Club is relatively new to the Liverpool dining scene, having celebrated its first birthday in September 2016. But the laidback ambience and interesting small plates have led to this kitchen, bar, off-licence and event space rapidly carving out its own niche.
Head chef Daniel Heffy has an impressive background: he was awarded North West Young Chef of the Year in 2014 and worked at fine-dining restaurant The Art School in Liverpool. His style of cooking has won praise for flair and presentation and he co-owns Buyers Club as well as two further Liverpool dining concepts, Secret Diners Club and Finca, which serves Cuban street food.
A selection of inventive small plates can be found on the menu, including charred red mullet with crab salad and avocado purée, ham hock with duck egg and chilli caramel, and spiced culotte roast of Hereford beef with chickpea purée.
Simpler dishes such as feta salad with pickled garlic and panzanella with sourdough croutons are also available and there’s a selection of British deli boards to share including cheese, charcuterie and seafood served with house pickles and sourdough bread from local bakery The Wild Loaf.
Daily specials are listed on a chalkboard and smaller nibbles including scotch quail eggs and smoked almonds are a tempting accompaniment to drinks. There is a selection of rustic soups, sandwiches and salads on the lunch menu from 12-6pm and the cheese melt on sourdough alone makes a trip here worthwhile.
What’s the room like
The bar and restaurant is a spacious, bright and informal space with exposed brickwork, polished wooden tables, pot plants, chalkboard menus and a shelf brimming with colourful jars of house-made pickles. Behind the bar there’s an impressive array of wines and spirits and a record player takes care of the soundtrack, while an outdoor terrace filled with brightly painted benches and fairy lights feels even more special at night.
Menu must orders
The small plates were sophisticated without trying too hard; twice-cooked chunky chips with rich beef gravy was the embodiment of uncomplicated comfort food. Southern fried chicken delivered a sublime combination of flavours: succulent chicken in a golden crumb was paired with a wedge of fluffy cornbread and maple syrup, while popcorn added intense sweetness and a contrasting texture. Chunks of on-trend pickled watermelon on the side added a refreshing tang.
Octopus risotto conjured up a taste of the sea with a slight saltiness from its ink, the pan-fried, pickled tentacle was extremely tender. Truffle gnocchi with chestnut mushrooms and crispy sage was another triumph, full of intricate flavours, with an earthy depth of pungent truffle, meaty chestnut mushrooms and pillowy gnocchi.
There was a choice of panna cotta or lemon cheesecake for dessert and the latter was zesty and light, which worked well with the topping of (unfortunately out of season) strawberries bursting with sweetness and some playful popping candy.
The cocktail list breaks away from the strict classics. Garden Negroni (gin, Aperol, Cocchi Rosa, maraschino and mint) and Praise Bee (vodka, honey, orange bitters, grape and sparkling Chenin Blanc) both sounded appealing, and White Port and Tonic was an up-to-the-minute alternative to G&T.
The wine list comprises a diverse selection of New World and European red, white and rosé wines and ‘a few special bottles’ section dedicated to exceptional wines. Some even can be purchased to take away from the Buyers Club off-licence. The house white, Moulin De Gassac Classic from the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France was an ideal pairing for our small plates, with a floral and citrusy palate of green apple and grapefruit.
Buyers Club is a great all-rounder where you can dine, drink and listen to music. The star of the show is undoubtedly the dazzling and affordable (£6-£9 each) small plates, but the service, too, is cheerful and efficient.
Written by Camille Allcroft (cococami.blogspot.co.uk), October 2016
24 Hardman St
0151 709 2400