[invite] Bianca: Furthering our cafe explorations, Ness and I (with new FFS recruit Vincenz) made our way to Vine & Grind in Westfield, Liverpool. No pancakes on the agenda today, I was keen to try more of their savoury options.
First things first, you’re going to want to head to Level 2, opposite Guess. I do appreciate the attempt to differentiate the cafe from the shopping centre ‘design’. With timber wooden tables and the greenery fronting the cafe space, adding some much-needed ambience.
My Skim Capp $4.5 needed a touch of sucre to cut through the bitterness but otherwise a well-balanced coffee.
For the juice/smoothie crowd – we’d suggest the Lychee & Coconut Crush $6 and the Raspberry & Watermelon Iced Tea $6.
New to the menu is the Shakshuka & Eggs -w/slow roasted tomatoes, eggplant, chipotle peppers, poached eggs, crispy dehydrated kale, Persian feta and za’atar sourdough. Definitely a winter warmer, I will admit that I shy away from Shakshuka’s generally but this was executed wonderfully. The sauce well developed and cooked through, generous chunks of velvety eggplant. Perfect poached eggs and it’s the small touches, the za’atar toast tying it all together.
Our absolute favourite was the Truffled Exotic Mushrooms -w/parmesan cream, truffle, chilli oil, micro basil, fried egg, bacon & macadamia crumb. Slow slow clap. I hope this stays as a permanent addition because I would return for this alone. The mushrooms almost having a slight crispy coating, the crispy bacon & macadamia crumb adding some crunch. There was also a dusting of chilli flakes that tipped us over the edge, along with the chilli oil it might have been a little OTT.
Yes, most people know I have an aversion to Acai Bowls BUT the Acai -w/ Fresh seasonal berries, coconut, granola + Peanut Butter $16.50 was actually quite good. I think you could probably put peanut butter on cardboard and I’d eat it. The texture of the acai set this particular version aside, more soft serve like opposed to soupy. Ness really enjoyed it and she’s a big Acai fan!
I was intrigued by the Truffle Schnitzel Sub -w/ panko crusted chicken, Danish Havarti cheese, pickled onion, coral lettuce & truffle mayo $12. First things first, Imma say ‘Bye Felicia’ to that coral lettuce. I enjoyed the creaminess and the flavour but found the truffle mayo a little too subtle.
And of course, it wouldn’t be an FFS post without some sort of sweetie. The Churros French Toast -w/ churro crusted brioche, caramelised banana, Belgian choc pot, dehydrated raspberries, raspberry sorbet, fresh berries & rosewater meringue $19. There’s a WHOLE LOT going on here. I enjoyed the flavours and it was definitely one of the better French Toast’s I’ve had lately. The positives, the French Toast… tasted exactly like a cinnamon doughnut. The texture was a little tough but I’ll put that down to the fact that no ‘wet’ element was directly touching the french toast until you started with the theatrics. Which brings me to the choc pot. Melted milk chocolate? Insert a direct IV into my veins please, striking on the plate and delicious in the mouth. But mixed with the tart raspberry sorbet it really was a winner. A few things, the watermelon & passionfruit was really wasted here, I didn’t feel the flavours gelled. I don’t believe we were served the meringue but it was really unnecessary, so no quibble there.
All in all, a really strong cafe in the heart of Liverpool.
*For Food’s Sake dined as guests of Vine & Grind.