Marc Waddington is transported back to his childhood with a much-missed roast
COUNTLESS pubs have shut down in recent years, and they're currently calling time for good at a rate of about 30 a week in the UK.
The smoking ban did for many, not helped by cheap supermarket ale and landlords being forced to charge premium prices because of the stranglehold the breweries have over them with exclusive tie-ins, charging extortionate rates for their alcohol.
So, many said, and still do say, that for a lot of pubs, the only way to survive is to diversify.
And what could better illustrate how a pub evolves into something quite different to secure its future than the Monro?
The building was once an old merchant’s house (hence its name), and is in the same style as all the other Georgian buildings that line Duke Street.
And Monro himself was not the only illustrious character to grace this place with his presence. In days gone by, Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson was its landlord.
He has since taken the tea towel off his shoulder for bigger and better things... while the Monro has come a long way too, reinventing itself as a gastropub.
I rarely have a proper Sunday roast these days, living largely on my own and my girlfriend being vegetarian. But just the thought of this weekend staple takes me back in a flash to my grandmother’s house, the smell of boiled cabbage, windows dripping with condensation and Bullseye on the TV. I certainly miss my Sunday roasts, that’s for sure.
The interior of the Monro is a long way from how it used to be. With its William Morris-esque wallpaper and cool shades of blue paint, it certainly gives a good first impression, even if it is a bit too dark inside.
For starter I chose the fillet of duck breast, served on a bed of lettuce with a papaya salad and cherry tomatoes. The four slices of duck were succulent and not at all fatty, and the papaya added a welcome sweetness, even if the papaya was hardly plentiful: I think I counted around four small cubes dotted artfully around the edge of the plate.
My dining companion went for the fish cakes of salmon and halibut served with garlic mayonnaise.Given he can make Michael Winner look like he’s on the fair side, he seemed impressed. The quite large cake was definitely full of fish, where in some places they can just be a lot of mashed potato with little in the way of fish.