24 Dec Pen Factory
Happy Christmas Eve! We are in the midst of party season and what better time to have a proper get together with copious food and drink ? On such an occasion I went to the Pen Factory, halfway between Philharmonic Hall and the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral (the spiky one). The Pen Factory has the cosy benefits of being a basement but with the luxury of large warehouse windows from its days in the 1800’s as the Lang Pen Company’s home.
On this particular mid-afternoon the place was full with parties of Christmas jumpers and twinkly lights. Much mulled wine and cider was going on, but the Pen Factory also serves local beers and a good selection of your usual spirits and wines. For those of us who prefer a non alcoholic beverage, try Seedlip, like a healthy gin! There are three varieties, my favourite is the ‘Garden’, perfect topped up with tonic and ice.
The menu reads well with plenty of options for meat or veg lovers. Hidden amongst these are some festive specials such as the roast turkey crown. My friends who chose this ordered duck fat roasties and roasted vegetables (carrots, beetroots and parsnips) as sides. However, as the Pen Factory serves a small plates or tapas-like menu, these arrived individually and on separate tiny plates. Therefore you either had to wait for your veg or eat some of your turkey first. Despite that, everything tasted great. The turkey had good flavour, was moist and the roasted elements were cooked well.
I had the aubergine and chickpea curry – I fancied something light as the first violins had had a cheese overload the previous day (no regrets though 😀 ). Often when I see a dish like this on a menu in a trendy restaurant, I wonder if it’ll be more style than substance. In this case, that was far from true! The rice had a delicate touch of cardamom running through it which added to the depth of spice in the curry itself. It was delicious and I’d definitely go back and choose it again.
The other main on our table was the lamb shank. It looked rather glorious on the plate, sitting centre stage on a bed of chunky purple potatoes and fennel strips. As you’d hope, the meat was tender and soft, especially with a dousing of gravy. It needed a bit more veg to balance the amount of meat in the dish, but again all the flavours were on point.
The Pen Factory is the sort of place that works well for groups, it’s a very social environment. It also has the lighting and background music level right – I can’t stand when you can’t see what you’re eating nor can you hear what the person in front of you is saying. Perhaps I’m getting old 😀
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Total receipt (5 people): £58
1 x Aubergine & chickpea curry 7
2 x Lamb shank 8.5
2 x Roast bronze turkey 7
2 x Roast winter veg 4
2 x Duck fat roasties 4
1 x Honey chipolatas 4