Last spring, a remarkable story unfolded which had Liverpool and the wider world spellbound.
Whilst renovation work was taking place at LEAF Bold Street in April 2021, a beautifully preserved menu over 100 years old fell from the rafters, dating back to Wednesday 15 January, 1913.
It offered a tangible glimpse into the past and how the city’s food and drink scene once was, in the then known Yamen Café. Decadent dishes included Tournedos Bearnaise, Consommé de Volaille and Meringues Chantilly with pears and an array of delicious drinks.
All that time ago, Liverpool’s Bold Street was the equivalent of London’s Bond Street – an opulent and thriving centre along which resided car show rooms, extravagant retail and many fine eateries.
And then as one of the region’s leading food, drink and cultural destinations, the uncanny parallels from The Yamen Café in 1913 to LEAF in the present day include a shared focus on teas, events, concerts and lectures. The secret trove held other artefacts including a Yamen staff hat, Whist book and playing cards with table numbers.
The wonderfully preserved menu – secreted away since just before World War 1 – is now the inspiration for LEAF Bold Street to recreate some of the standout dishes, with head chef Phil Mackenzie explaining: “It’s a lovely story for us and that all this time – over a century – the menu was hidden in our roof. For me it’s a memory of how things used to be, testament to the quality and ambition of the cuisine in Liverpool set to a very high standard, with lobsters for example a regular occurrence at The Yamen Café. As a chef it really is something to be celebrated. We would like LEAF’s customers to be able to experience some of the standout dishes, and myself and the team will be recreating 4 of them for our special set menu.”
LEAF’s recreation of The Yamen Café 1913 Menu takes place on Wednesday 3 August as part of their All About Art month, further details of which will be announced soon.
The Yamen Café 1913 Menu
- Beef consommé with poached quail egg
- Gratin of sole with butter spinach and steamed potatoes
- Braised steak with jardinière of vegetable with green beans fagot and boulangerie gratin
- Mix berries sabayon with shortbread biscuit
4 course set menu – £35 per head
LEAF – 65-67 Bold St, Liverpool, L1 4EZ
To book: [email protected] / 0151 707 7747