As a rule, I dislike soup which I haven’t made myself. You may think that this sounds like a ridiculously arsey statement, but it’s rare I find a café, restaurant or lunch emporium which manages to get such a simple dish right. Most of the soups I’ve eaten recently have tasted of overcooked vegetable mulch and old string. Hell, even the ones I’ve made myself have lacked that certain something (that something mainly being a) seasoning and b) the ability to not smell like I’ve been stewing knicker elastic for an hour and a half).
However, yesterday, I managed to stumble upon possibly the best soup purveyor on Hope Street (if not the whole of Liverpool City Centre), the Blackburne House Café.
Blackburne House is a pretty ace place. Not only is it home to the Liverpool branch of the W.I. (who, may I say, aren’t your average W.I. and seem like a rather cool bunch of ladies), but it’s also a place which supports women’s enterprise, health and wellbeing. They provide massages, well being sessions, education and help for freelancers, or women starting out in business. Despite working on Hope Street for (almost) eighteen months now, and walking past it practically every day, I’ve never really visited its rather unassuming little café, preferring the (ever so slightly overpriced) delights of the deli situated in The Quarter.
However, on Monday, I was craving something warm and comforting, and – seeing as the last time I bought soup from The Quarter I ended up spending far too much money on something which was, frankly, disgusting – I decided to pay Blackburne House a visit and see what they had on offer. And blimey, I’m glad I did.
There’s no fussy flavours here, no flavours of the East or strange grains chucked in for a bit of exotic flare. Instead, this is simple, uncomplicated fare which puts me in mind of the kind of thing your Nan would make for you when you’re feeling under the weather. Homemade, well seasoned and absolutely delicious, truly these are the king of soups. Which would go some way to explaining why I’ve gone there for my lunch three days in a row, and demolished a bowl in under five minutes whenever I’ve been there.
Special mention should also go to the bread it’s served up with. Soft, fresh, doughy and delicious, it’s just the thing for mopping up all of that excess. Not that you’ll have much if you’re anything like me. And, best of all, you can get this and a Diet Coke and still have a change from a fiver. Bargaintastic!
Does Blackburne House Café serve the best soup in Liverpool? Well, at the moment, I’m reserving judgement until I actually manage to eat a bowl of soup in every restaurant situated within the Merseyside area. But it definitely serves up the best soup on Hope Street. And when I’m cold, hungry and grumpy, that’s enough for me.
Blackburne House Café
Blackburne Place (just off Hope Street)