Camp and Furnace is at the heart of the Baltic Triangles exciting cultural rejuvenation here’s why Once home to Liverpool’s A foundation which closed its doors in 2011, Liverpool’s historic Baltic Triangle was facing bleak times, only added to by the recent decline of Cain’s Brewery no longer being able to brew beer.  A victim perhaps of the bright lights of Liverpool One attracting the public who unknowingly pass by the city’s heritage without a thought.

However emerging from the building that was once a vast industrial area comprising of a furnace, a blade factory and coach shed is now a social hub. It’s relaxed, stylish and well designed interiors boasting a huge log fire and vintage caravan’s plays host to multiple events and installations.  Art exhibitions, film screenings, beer festivals and craft markets are just a few of the numerous activities that transpire weekly in the versatile spaces Camp and Furnace offers.  Aside from this abundance of entertainment Camp and Furnace exists in an everyday capacity, offering a varied and delicious menu with a range which includes indulgent burgers to more sophisticated offerings.  

Just one of the weekly events that Camp and Furnace hosts that succeeds in attracting people to the triangle and promoting independent eateries from around Liverpool is Food Slam Friday. Evoking a carnival atmosphere the camping space is decked out with park benches surrounded by an eclectic selection of food and drink stalls. Blackboards advertising what’s on offer encourage a laid back atmosphere, have a look what each vendor is selling, try a taster or sit down and simply enjoy a drink before making your decision. It’s this freedom that makes Food Slam so enjoyable and unique, the choice to devour as little or as much of the culinary delights as you want (although you’ll probably choose the latter).  The soundtrack to the evening comes from DJ’s playing a mixture of well known tracks and more ambiguous pieces accompanied by visuals of cult movies shown on the mega screen.

The food itself is so diverse that the only issue you have is selecting what to eat or go the route I did and just sample it all! The main attraction at this week’s Slam was a preview tasting of a new Lebanese restaurant named Bakchich opening on Bold Street in July.  The stand was constantly surrounded with people enjoying either a Lebanese flatbread bursting with succulent chicken shawarma (spit grilled spiced chicken breast) or a salad combining the chicken, homemade hummus, pickles and a choice of three falafel.  The creamy hummus, hearty falafel (butternut squash, mushroom or traditional) and tingling spicy sauce had punters eagerly anticipating the restaurants opening.

Camp & Furnace Food Slam Friday'sFood Slams other offerings included irresistibly sticky chicken thighs marinated in shaohsing rice wine chili and ginger and a stand dedicated to steak cooked in front of your very eyes. One of the more alternative and experimental treats but no less delicious, was a banana, peanut butter and (wait for it) streaky smoked bacon milk shake.  

Camp & Furnace Food Slam Friday'sIn addition to the two bars in Camp and Furnace dispensing original cocktails, craft beers and local bottles the Slam had its own specialized gin bar.  Refreshing G and T’s and original cocktails described with knowledgeable passion by the barman proved the tipple of choice to accompany a perfectly unique culinary experience.

With the increasingly popular Baltic Bake house (which supplies Camp and Furnace), Unit 51 and Elevator Bars it seems Camp and Furnace has helped spark a revolution for the Baltic Triangle. One thing that is clear with Food Slam is that Camp and Furnace is attempting to use its popularity to support independent Liverpool based businesses. An ethos which is both admirable and exciting, offering a diverse dining experience to welcome in any weekend.

Food Slam Friday is every week from 7pm alternately The Baltic Arts and Crafts fair returns to Camp and Furnace this Saturday.

Alex Kronenburg