Frederiks, 32 Hope Street, Liverpool, L1 9BX – Visit Now
American-style eateries are ten a penny in Liverpool – would Frederiks, on Hope Street, set itself apart?
You could easily argue that Liverpool needs another “American-influenced” eatery like it needs more Beatles impersonators. Recent openings such as NoLIta, Free State Kitchen and Almost Famous show that transatlantic cuisine can be both delicious and stylishly served up – but it’s now starting to feel like anyone with a business loan and a job lot of cheap beef goes in for selling Scousers burgers. So forgive us if we greeted the news that the old Korova on Hope Street was opening as Frederiks, a “Brooklyn style eatery”, with a snort of derision and a pretty large eye roll. Mac and cheese and sliders? How original.
Never let it be said that we criticise something before trying it. Designed by the same team behind Camp & Furnace, Frederiks certainly looks good. Its cosy tables and congenial spaces allow you and your gang to gossip over an Aperol spritz beside a roaring fire. There’s an impressive selection of craft beers on the menu, the wine list is decent and the waitstaff appear to know their Campari from their Cointreau. On the Saturday evening when we visited, it was also very, very busy (prepare to get cosy with your fellow diners; it seems to be the norm for standees to rest their drinks on your table) and very, very loud. We suggest going with someone you’re close to, as you may need to snuggle up if you want to hold an actual conversation.
Liverpool needs another “American-influenced” eatery like it needs more Beatles impersonators
Dishes are served as small plates, encouraging sharing. Most of what we tried was decent enough, if in need of a few slight tweaks. Our Scotch egg (£3) would have benefitted from a slightly runnier yolk, but it was well seasoned and came with a delightfully sharp red onion chutney. The salt beef and mustard mac and cheese (£6.50) could have been slightly more generous with its star ingredients, but was still delightfully ooey, gooey, crunchy and comforting, while the salt and pepper grilled potatoes (£3.50) were plentiful and moreish – and a beef and bone marrow slider (£3) certainly satisfied.
The standout dish of the night had to be the oysters Rockefeller. It’s easy to be put off by the idea of something as delicate as an oyster being smothered with spinach and cheese and, at £8 for three, they’re not the cheapest item on the menu. But to miss out on these is to bypass one of the best dishes we’ve eaten in the city for a while (you can count on one hand the number of Merseyside restaurants serving decent seafood). Each oyster was as bracing as the Irish Sea, with the peppy brightness of salt, lemon and tabasco fading away into a divine metallic richness. Full marks also go to the puddings we tried; a delightfully tart and zingy lemon posset (£4), and a (heavy on the) bourbon pecan pie (£4). They were fine examples of an American dessert done right, rather than a fatty, sugar-laden gut bomb.
With its craft cocktails and American classics, Frederiks is more reminiscent of the modern, rough-edged take on a diner than a blowsy Brooklyn bar – and at £47.00 for dinner for two with drinks, it’s certainly a damn sight cheaper than its London counterparts. So, Frederiks, forgive us our initial scepticism – and welcome to Liverpool.