Filter + Fox, Liverpool
Neighbourhood vibes, top coffee and great attention to detail; we discover a new hidden gem near Liverpool One
In a city with its fair share of well-known restaurants, it's always a pleasure to find an indie gem that still feels undiscovered. That is exactly part of the appeal of Filter + Fox, tucked away on Duke Street.
On an afternoon visit, we are warmly greeted by proprietors Owain Williams and Chris Edwards, who have brought to bear their wealth of experience in the restaurant industry to create this new venue, which calls itself a “cafe bar and hideout”. There is a great philosophy of friendliness behind Filter + Fox, and from the moment you walk in you feel like a regular patron, such is the welcome from the beaming staff.
With details including houseplants, scatter cushions and a bar where bottles of interesting drinks from around the world jostle for space, the bohemian ambience is frankly heartwarming. There is a real neighbourhood hideaway feel to the restaurant, with tables of happy customers sharing charcuterie platters or sipping coffee while they people-watch.
Seated at the bar, we look on as Edwards whips up an on-trend Aperol Spritz cocktail, bringing a welcome Mediterranean feeling to a grey afternoon in Liverpool. As we sip the drink, Williams and Edwards explain their focus: great produce, which they carefully source from a number of local suppliers, such as the Liverpool Cheese Company in nearby Woolton.
The premium ingredients are channelled into the ever changing selection of small plates and sandwiches on offer, which are charmingly detailed on a blackboard hanging on the wall. The dishes are all prepared behind the bar, adding an enjoyable sense of theatre to the experience. There is a daily selection of decadent cakes, too, for those in need of a sweet treat.
We opt for a hearty sandwich of tenderstem broccoli, pancetta and lemon, served on crusty bread smothered in a delicious pesto. Bravo indeed: these ingredients complement each other perfectly and make what is a simple sandwich rather unforgettable. Eager to try another dish from the small plate selection, we pick a salad of grilled aubergine with basil, sun-dried tomatoes and feta cheese, which provide an explosion of deliciously simple flavours that whisk you away to a sun-drenched terrace on the Amalfi Coast.
To cap off the meal: an excellent latte made with coffee sourced from Brick Lane roastery Nude. This is served with chocolate wafers on a handmade silver tray bought in a Marrakech market by the owners during their many travels; it's little touches like this that make Filter + Fox truly special.
Come the evening, lights are turned down low and candles are lit to create an intimate feeling, which brings to mind the kind of place you might discover on the streets of New York. The eclectic soundtrack continues and Filter + Fox fills up with a fun-loving crowd who seem to be enjoying the impressive selection of wines and cocktails.
Attention to detail is always something that can transform a good restaurant into a great one, and at Filter + Fox no detail is overlooked. The bohemian interior, exceptional service, bespoke cocktails and wonderful food all combine to make this little hideaway a place we'll be returning to again and again.
If you like Filter + Fox, try:
Idle Hands, Manchester
Bold Street Coffee, Liverpool
Filter + Fox
27 Duke Street
Liverpool, L1 5AP