HUS has only been open a couple of months, but it is quickly establishing itself a reputation for quality food and a great environment to gather in, kick back, fill and chill. Its home is in the Tempest Building on Tithebarn Street, and succeeds in its ambition to bring a relaxed feel that can be missing in the business district of Liverpool. It boasts a bar, restaurant, conference and party facilities. All this and a rooftop terrace as well. When G and myself arrived HUS wasn’t very busy, but that didn’t detract from what is an obvious great vibe to the place.
It has a real Nordic feel to it, light wood furniture, carefully plotted pot plants, great lighting; a bit like an IKEA store that you actually want to spend time in, rather than just get the hell in and get the hell out. Or perhaps that’s just me? Anyhow, the vibe is calm and relaxing, and you could oh so easily spend most of your day there: surfing the web, chatting, eating and drinking, even reading, as they have a “library” section located by the kitchen. Indeed, the condiments arrived with a couple of books in the side rack. Add to this a perfectly curated soundtrack on our visit, playing the likes of Joy Division, Nick Drake and Leonard Cohen, G and myself were soon completely at ease and loving the place. You soon become one with the HUS ethos.
Now if HUS is a cool space, and it is, then the food and drink it offers up must be to the measure. And I am delighted to report that it certainly is. The food is served “tapas” style – small plates, but with generous portions, if that’s not a contradiction of sorts. Under the keen eye and direction of John, we ordered the pan fried sea bass, with chorizo, braised leeks and crispy shallots.
This is a superb combination and the sea bass was cooked to perfection. As were the crayfish gouda – Dutch cheese – croquettes with seaweed, which wasn’t fried but had the consistency of al dente pasta. Exquisite. I urge you to try the Jansons temptation, an absolute classic Swedish gratin style dish, which was extremely palate pleasing. Our two vegetarian dishes of choice were the sweet corn chilli fritters and the HUS honey chargrilled cauliflower with romesco sauce and toasted almonds, of which the latter was simply sensational – a sure fire recommendation on your visit (those of you who have already visited HUS and had this dish will now be nodding sagely to this).
Desserts of the apple and cardamom with ginger pepparkakor, baked with supreme precision in order to preserve the brittle snap, and chocolate tarte with hazelnut brittle followed. Both kept up the extremely high standard. Even the coffee HUS served, an Ethiopian flat white courtesy of Liverpool’s Neighbourhood Coffee Company, was never in danger of bringing this culinary high bar down. Coffee, if it’s poor, can lead to ruining your dining experience, probably because it’s the last thing you had but the first thing you will remember. It’s remarkable how some restaurants neglect the quality of the coffee that they serve. Not so HUS, who are obviously aware of this importance. The G, who is something of a coffee connoisseur, was most impressed. This, in itself, is quite an achievement.
HUS has a great vibe, fantastic food and really enthusiastic, talented staff. It is very clear that the whole enterprise has been very well thought out. It should, with these ingredients, go from strength to strength and be the success it wholeheartedly deserves. It will become a second home for both the business fraternity who work locally, as well as the “culture-nistas” who will be attracted by its atmosphere, vibe and ethos. And this is quite fitting, as HUS in Swedish means “house”, so the analogy is complete. The whole visit was more Abba than the alarmingly misunderstood Ace of Base, which gives you a musical indication of the quality HUS provides. Hasta Manana.
Lycka till, HUS!