Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Lunch at The Art School Liverpool

You all know by now how much I adore good food, and yet until now I have not had the pleasure of reviewing a Fine Dining restaurant here on Coco Cami. I was therefore, delighted and honoured to be invited to have lunch last week at the prestigious restaurant The Art School* in Liverpool, the first solo restaurant by renowned chef Paul Askew who is a member of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts and has cooked for none other than the Queen herself in the past. The Art School restaurant opened its doors last September, to rave reviews across the city and far beyond. It has consistently been voted Number 1 on Trip Advisor and it is the general consensus that a Michelin Star may not be far away. I was so excited as I hopped out of the taxi at 1 Sugnall Street Liverpool,  ready  to be whisked away into a world of culinary delights for a few blissful hours. 
Housed in the former lantern room of the Victorian 1888 Home for Destitute Children, the restaurant boasts both a historical setting and a great location close to the Liverpool Philharmonic and in the heart of an area with a wealth of culture to offer. Chef-Patron Paul Askew prides himself on the use of locally sourced and seasonal ingredients, and he has forged close relationships with local suppliers over many years.

The elegant facade.


 The restaurant has 48 covers, which means that it boasts an intimate atmosphere without being too quiet, I expected to feel at least slightly intimidated since I was lunching alone, but I could not have felt more at ease as I was warmly welcomed within. Indeed the restaurant is so refined, that I was awestruck by the elegance of the entire experience. As you arrive, the door is magically opened by a concierge sporting a bowler hat, creating a superb first impression which speaks of the understated glamour of an era gone by. I was enchanted with the lovely bar and reception area, which has a wood burning stove and classical furniture. What a place to spend an hour sipping a Vesper Martini, I thought, as I was offered to either have a drink at the bar first or to go straight to my table. Although tempted by that Martini,  I opted to go straight to my table with one sole aim in mind, wrapping my taste buds around the exquisite food!



I was immediately brought a glass of excellent Charles Heidsieck champagne, which had an amazing amber colour and was perfectly crisp and dry. Next I was presented with the menu, and I opted to start with the twice baked soufflé of wild mushrooms, with Barkham blue cheese, Ormskirk leek and Dijon cream sauce. Before that, I was brought a wonderful surprise of a delectable amuse-bouche. Tiny delicate vegetables and bacon were beautifully presented in a white bowl, then topped with a wonderful cream and parsley sauce which was ceremoniously poured from a teapot. I felt like I had fallen down the rabbit hole into a world of culinary fantasy, and I was enjoying every moment of it! The flavours were sublime and perfectly balanced with the smoky bacon playing against the rich and creamy sauce. This was only a taste of things to come, and the whole meal continued to delight.



The amuse-bouche.




I sat soaking up the ambiance of the dining room as I awaited my starter. Lunchtime service was in full swing and tables of contented diners were chatting happily and savouring the wonderful food. In moments, my starter appeared, which was served alongside an exquisitely carved leaf-shaped potato rosti. The pastry was excellent, buttery and light whilst the mushrooms were rich, meaty and tender. The leeks and Dijon cream sauce complemented the dish perfectly, balancing the rich with the delicate, in the way only such an accomplished chef can.
 I must point out that not only the food is extra special at The Art School, but also the wine. Marc, the extremely knowledgeable and friendly French sommelier had thoughtfully prepared a wine flight to perfectly match each course. The starter was paired with a delicious Spanish white wine, which was an ideal companion to it, with the sweet and citrus notes of the wine playing well against the smokiness of the mushrooms. As I sat back and savoured the last bites, before long I was brought an intermediate course of Terrine of Lancashire pheasant, partridge and pigeon in natural jus with chantrelles and winter leaves. Once again the dish was beautifully presented, a sheer work of art on a plate. It tasted superb, in fact just as good as it looked! 
I must add that I was in rhapsodies of joy over the slates of bread and butter which were brought to me. I do not want to make a gross generalisation here, but as a Northerner, I regard bread and butter as one of the pinnacles of good food and I think many other Northerners would agree. Good quality, home baked bread and fresh butter can provide the cornerstone upon which great meals are built and I was certainly in for a treat, as I was informed that the traditional Italian Roll and the Focaccia were freshly baked daily in The Art School kitchen. They were presented along with two slabs of butter, sprinkled with Sea Salt and Black Pepper respectively. My heart was filled with joy as unable to restrain myself any longer, I tucked in. The Focaccia was as light and fluffy as a sponge cake with exquisite flavour and the Italian Roll was hearty, dense and delicious. There was a hint of vanilla somewhere in the butter, or perhaps that was my imagination. Either way, it tasted like heaven!



The starter and the bread slate.


The delightful leaf-shaped rosti just added to the amazing dish.




The heavenly bread and butter.





The intermediate course of Terrine.




 This beautiful art work contains Gold Leaf.




 For the main course I was torn between the Salt Baked Celeriac and the Fillet of Peterhead Hake. In the end I opted for the Hake which was served with clams and Pommes Mousseline, a very delicious version of mashed potatoes, which I could happily have eaten an entire dish of by itself, such was the fluffy texture and light flavour! The Hake itself was a symphony of white flaky fish, so tender that it crumbled beneath my fork into slivers of gastronomic pleasure.
Sommelier Marc had the genius idea of paring this course with a superb Rosé, explaining that although fish is usually served with white wine, he felt that this particular Rosé would perfectly complement the dish. He was right, for the wine was sharp with just the right amount of summer sweetness and fruit bursting through. For a moment, I could have been sitting on a sun drenched terrace in Saint-Tropez, looking out over the glittering Mediterranean. For me, this is what excellent food is all about, the evocative power of different flavours to conjure up a whole world of imagination. 


The main course: Fillet of Peterhead Hake with clams and pommes mousseline.




As I was finishing my main course, I was so impressed to see Chef Paul greeting every guest in the restaurant personally. It is so refreshing to see this kind of hands-on approach from a renowned chef, and it is this kind of personal touch which sets a restaurant like The Art School apart from the rest. 
As I awaited my dessert, I was delighted when he came to sit down for a chat with me over a pot of tea. He is such a genuine, kind man as well as a superb chef. What an honour it was for me to sit and talk to him and naturally,  food was the topic of conversation! I had the pleasure of asking him about his career and his culinary inspirations. He told me that the Basque of Spain region boasts some of his favourite cuisine, and that there are more Michelin Starred restaurants there than anywhere in the world. He told me all about one of the many highlights of his career, cooking for the Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh (Salmon and Colcannon mash was one of the dishes, in case you were wondering). We agreed on the power of great food to induce emotions and to evoke great memories, and right on cue, the platter of exquisite desserts was brought to me, evoking my sheer joy!
There was a praline macaroon, a white chocolate and orange Delice, an apple and cinnamon strudel and a mini lemon curd and meringue tart. My oh my, what a beautiful dessert platter, I honestly did not know where to begin! Luckily, I did not need to decide just then as we carried on chatting for a while longer, and Chef Paul was even kind enough too ask me all about my blog. We discussed the resurgence in popularity of 70's foods such as Black Forest Gateau and also how much he and his family love Ibiza. It was such a lovely chat to round off a perfect meal, and after he finished the last of his tea, he left me to enjoy the wonderful dessert platter! 
I felt quite guilty because by then I was the only diner still lingering over lunch, but I was assured that there was no hurry and so I took my time savouring the desserts. They were just sublime in every way, and the apple strudel took me right back to when I lived in Heidelberg, Germany, when a slice of Apfelstrudel with cream in a Konditorei used to be my favourite treat after lectures. A prime example of the power of food to take you back to a happy moment in life. Marc once again looked after me, bringing out a deliciously sweet dessert wine to accompany the platter. It was the perfect way to end such a wonderful meal.  At the end of the meal, I took some more photographs of the stunning restaurant interior. I love the fact that the kitchen is visible through a window, and you can watch Chef Paul and his team working away during service. By the time I was leaving, they were beginning their prep for evening service and a quick peek into the kitchen left me in no doubt  that the diners would be in for an amazing feast. The dining room has a vaulted glass ceiling which lets in plenty of natural light, and there are striking light fixtures suspended from above too, which must look incredible in the evening. Each table was decorated with miniature daffodils, a thoughtful touch which lent an air of springtime to proceedings. I loved the large art work at the back of the room, which provides an eye catching feature. It depicts flowers and the fish on it are painted with Gold Leaf.
After those final few photographs, it was finally time for me to bid a fond farewell to Chef Paul, his team and The Art School. I emerged back into the chilly Liverpool afternoon with that great feeling of happiness and fulfillment, which a wonderful meal can provide. The whole experience was refined, elegant and understated and the food was nothing short of heavenly. I cannot wait to dine there again in the future and I would thoroughly recommend the restaurant for either a special occasion or just for a wonderful lunch or dinner which you will never forget.




The dessert platter.







The lovely Sommelier Marc, who dreamed up the perfect wine flight to accompany my meal.


 Some of Paul Askew's many awards and accolades!


 The elegant dining room.


 The cosy reception area, complete with wood-burning stove.



 The delightful bar area.



The beautiful art work.



My lunch at The Art School was one of the best afternoons I have had in a long time, and it was a pleasure to meet Paul Askew himself!



I couldn't resit making an Instagram collage of my favourite photographs from the meal! 




0151 230 8600

The Art School 
1 Sugnall Street
Liverpool L7 7EB

A huge thank you to Chef Paul Askew, Sommelier Marc and the rest of the team for hosting me. A special thank you to Charlotte at The Art School too, who kindly arranged the lunch. It was such a wonderful meal and I was made to feel so very welcome throughout my time at The Art School. I would thoroughly recommend the restaurant to anybody who wants to experience exquisite fine-dining  and hospitality in an elegant setting.

What do you all think, have you ever tried a fine-dining restaurant? Remember, I love to read your comments and I follow back my followers. Thank you for reading this review.

Until next time, 

Camille 
xo


*Disclosure:
I was kindly invited to dine at The Art School as a guest of the restaurant. My meal was therefore complimentary for review purposes. All views expressed are my own and honest.

98 comments:

  1. Looks incredible

    Mel
    www.girlandthepolkadot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much Mel, it was really superb :)

      Best wishes,

      Camille xo

      Delete
  2. Replies
    1. Thank you so much Georgia Jade, I felt very lucky and it was such delicious food ;)

      Best wishes,

      Camille xo

      Delete
  3. All courses look so delicious and beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much, it was all so amazing :)

      Best wishes,

      Camille xo

      Delete
  4. every thing is so good hope to enter in my ongoing giveaway here http://shizasblog.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much, it was delicious :) I will definitely enter your giveaway!

      Best wishes,

      Camille xo

      Delete
  5. Replies
    1. Thank you very much Amy, it is so lovely :)

      Best wishes,

      Camille xo

      Delete
  6. Wow this seems like such a wonderful place! I'm in love with that black panelled wall with the large painting! And of course all the foods look delicious! Must try if I go to Liverpool one day:))) Thanks for sharing!

    X
    Gloria
    http://it-is-sweetchili.blogspot.co.uk/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much Gloria, it is a lovely restaurant and the food was amazing. I loved the wall and the painting too :)

      Best wishes,

      Camille xo

      Delete
  7. The food presentation is wonderful. I love saying "amuse bouche." It's such a funny phrase.

    :] // ▲ itsCarmen.com ▲

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Than you very much Carmen it was superb food, I agree, amuse-bouche is such a funny phrase :)

      Best wishes,

      Camille xo

      Delete
  8. Great photos!

    Please click on the link on my new post
    http://helderschicplace.blogspot.com/2015/02/the-perfect-coat-sheinside.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Helder, I really appreciate your kind words :)

      Best wishes,

      Camille xo

      Delete
  9. Replies
    1. Thank you so much Kim, I agree I thought it was so cute!

      Best wishes,

      Camille xo

      Delete
  10. so lucky, that food looks fantastic. xo

    http://terramcd.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much, I felt so lucky and the food was delicious :)

      Best wishes,

      Camille xo

      Delete
  11. Looks amazing xx

    thelilymint.blogspot.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much, it was so amazing :)

      Best wishes,

      Camille xo

      Delete
  12. GREAT POST!!!
    xx
    S
    www.manthroughclothes.blogspotcom

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Simone, I really appreciate you stopping by on my blog :)

      Best wishes,

      Camille xo

      Delete
  13. Just looking at the food makes me hungry! Your writing is lovely.

    nolongergrey.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for this comment, I truly appreciate your compliment about my writing. So kind of you :)

      Best wishes,

      Camille xo

      Delete
  14. This looks like an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime, dining experience. Some of the food shots are making me hungry - and I just finished eating!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much Vivi, I agree it was a truly amazing experience and I still feel hungry looking at the pictures again :)

      Best wishes,

      Camille xo

      Delete
  15. Oh my gosh you very lucky thing, food reviews are always my favourite to go out and do BUT when the staff are that genuine and that kind, alongside impeccable presentation that makes it truly amazing xxx

    Blonde Of Carbs

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much Jessica, I agree food reviews are always so much fun to do and it makes it even better when the staff are kind and the food is so beautiful and delicious :)

      Best wishes,

      Camille xo

      Delete
  16. So pretty. Looks like a great time!
    <3
    katsfashionfix.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much Kathleen, it was a great afternoon :)

      Best wishes,

      Camille xo

      Delete
  17. I really wanna go there ><
    so gorgeous!

    theautumnstreet.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Aulia, it s a gorgeous restaurant :)

      Best wishes,

      Camille xo

      Delete
  18. Lovely pictures dear! I really like the decoration, thank you so much for your coment and following, I am following back in GFC because I am used to use this social network. kisses from
    http://lilbourne.blogspot.com.es/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comments, it was a super lunch. Thanks for following :)

      Best wishes,

      Camille xo

      Delete
  19. great photos!! Everything looks so good!!

    Candice | Beauty Candy Loves

    ♥♥♥

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much Candice, I really appreciate your kind words :)

      Best wishes,

      Camille xo

      Delete
  20. Replies
    1. Thank you very much Catia, it was so yummy :)

      Best Wishes,

      Camille xo

      Delete
  21. The food looks like pure art and the view there is amazing.

    http://thinkworkandgo.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much Chiamaka, the food really was a work of art :)

      Best wishes,

      Camille xo

      Delete
  22. I like the idea of the intimate atmosphere so much and all of those food not only looks tasty but is so beautifully plated!

    Rae | love from berlin

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much Rae, the food was beautifully presented :)

      Best wishes,

      Camille xo

      Delete
  23. What a beautiful doorway and I love the artworks. The dessert platter looks just the right size!

    Suze | LuxuryColumnist

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much Suze, the dessert was definitely the right size, it was so nice not to have to share it either ;)

      Best wishes,

      Camille xo

      Delete
  24. the food look yummy!

    www.bumascloset.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much, it was so good :)

      Best wishes,

      Camille xo

      Delete
  25. The food looks incredible!

    thriftylilpixie.blogspot.ie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, it was amazing :)

      Best wishes,

      Camille xo

      Delete
  26. Funnily enough I read a very negative review of this place but from your words and pictures it looks excellent. I'm glad that you have a good time!
    Lots of love,
    Angie

    SilverSpoon London

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Angie, it was excellent and I would definitely recommend it if you are ever in Liverpool :)

      Lots of love,

      Camille xo

      Delete
  27. Great post.. Food making me hungry :P Nice pictures :D
    www.xorosiejanxo.blogspot.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much Rosella :) glad you enjoyed the review!

      Best wishes,

      Camille xo

      Delete
  28. Hey Camille! I nominated you for the Liebster and Versatile blog awards because i LOVE your blog! Check out my blog for more info www.sophieandsofie.blogspot.co.nz

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much Sophie, so kind of you :)

      Best wishes,

      Camille xo

      Delete
  29. Replies
    1. Thank you very much Lucia :)

      Best wishes,

      Camille xo

      Delete
  30. Wow this place looks amazing! And all the food .... OMG! The dessert platter looks soooo delicious! What an amazing experience!

    x Karen
    http://dressinginlabels.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much Karen, it was a lovely experience and the dessert platter was incredible :)

      Best wishes,


      Camille xo

      Delete
  31. Replies
    1. Thank you very much Victoria :)


      Best wishes,

      Camille xo

      Delete
  32. This looks beautiful! xx

    Abi | abistreetx.blogspot.co.uk - Don't forget to enter my giveaway

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Abi, it was a lovely meal :)

      Best wishes,

      Camille xo

      Delete
  33. Thanks so much for your nice words!!
    I love your blog so much
    I´m following your blog in GFC
    I invite you to follow me
    dezazu.blogspot.com.es

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much, I love your blog too :)

      Best wishes,

      Camille xo

      Delete
  34. Once again the food looks amazing and I love the interior design of the restaurant. The wall reminds me of squares of a bar of chocolate! I shouldn't have read this before my breakfast, I'm starving now haha! Macaroons and praline are my two favourite things, bet they were amazing together! Lovely review as always, really enjoyed reading it :)

    Kay xx
    Idreamofcoco.blogspot.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for this lovely comment Kayleigh, so kind of you and I am really glad you enjoyed it. I always enjoy reading your posts so much too :) I love Macaroons too, they are way too addictive! Have a lovely weekend :)

      Camille xo

      Delete
  35. Wow! All this food looks amazing the desserts are making me very hungry though!

    www.thereview33.blogspot.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, so glad you enjoyed the review and sorry to make you hungry ;)

      Best wishes,

      Camille xo

      Delete
  36. Replies
    1. Thank you very much, it was a delicious meal :)

      Best wishes,

      Camille xo

      Delete
  37. That amouse-bouche looks amazing - whenever I've had them before they've been canapés, and I've always been a little disappointed with them.

    Lizzie Dripping

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much Elizabeth, it was a very satisfying amuse-bouche and delicious meal, I agree canapés sometimes can be too small!

      Have a lovely weekend :)

      Camille xo

      Delete
  38. very nice blog you have !
    What do you think about the sequence on GFC / Bloglovin / Facebook? If you want to let me know :)
    http://mosaictrends.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much and of course :)

      Camille xo

      Delete
  39. Muito bom o seu blog, estive a percorre-lo li alguma coisa, porque espero voltar mais algumas vezes,
    deu para perceber a sua dedicação em partilhar o seu saber.
    Se me der a honra de visitar e ler algumas coisas no Peregrino e servo ficarei radiante.
    E se gostar e desejar comente.
    Que Deus vos abençõe e guarde.
    António.
    http://peregrinoeservoantoniobatalha.blogspot.pt/

    ReplyDelete
  40. YUMMY ! X

    Follow me on GFC, I always follow back.
    WWW.HEKYMA.BLOGSPOT.COM

    ReplyDelete
  41. This looks amazing, such attention to detail! x

    http://ariannachatz.blogspot.co.uk/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much Arianna :)

      Best wishes,

      Camille xo

      Delete
  42. It all looks pretty amazing. That's what eating should be all about.

    /Avy

    http://mymotherfuckedmickjagger.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much Avy, I agree that is what eating should be all about :)

      Camille xo

      Delete
  43. The presentation of the food is really spectacular and makes the dishes all the more intriguing. I also love the decor/setting of the restaurant, for some reason the space seems really inviting even though it's modern! :)

    Gabrielle | A Glass Of Ice

    x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Gabrielle, it was such spectacular presentation and food, the decor was really cool too :)

      Best wishes,

      Camille xo

      Delete
  44. Beautiful place and great pics!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much Alex, it was such a lovely afternoon :)

      Camille xo

      Delete
  45. I've never heard of amuse-bouche before but it looks like something I need to try asap! The food presentation in general was stunning, looks like the meal was a hit :)

    Mili

    ReplyDelete
  46. Oh my gosh! I am drooling over all of that amazing food! It looks amazing there.
    Have a great week!
    xo April
    April | April Everyday

    ReplyDelete
  47. Love a good photo diary! Looks soooo lush! x

    http://www.kirstiepickering.com/

    ReplyDelete
  48. The desert place looks delicious!

    http://www.thepeculiartrouth.com

    ReplyDelete
  49. I love how gorgeous the design and the food are!
    Kari
    www.sweetteasweetie.com

    ReplyDelete
  50. Love the set up they had! And those red chairs are adorable at the tables! <3

    StyledByBlondie.com

    ReplyDelete
  51. I’ve just found your blog and I’d like to say that I’m in love with it!
    Interesting posts, beautiful photos & design! It’s really amazing!
    Great job! I’ll be happy to see you in my blog!)

    Diana Cloudlet
    http://www.dianacloudlet.com/

    ReplyDelete
  52. This looks amazing!!! The food looks great and so does the venue! Ive never been to the Northern side of England but I do want to visit some day! Cool photos :)

    ReplyDelete
  53. This looks amazing as well as the photographs

    ReplyDelete