The Grade II listed building was once a school for the blind and pays homage to its history /

This week in Brunch on Saturday, we try gourmet steak and fried eggs in a Georgian converted building and whip up a healthy bowl of grains with avocado at home

Brunching out...

Ascending the Victorian staircase showered with bare Edison bulbs dangling from wires of all lengths, you get the sense of a modern restaurant firmly aware of its heritage.

Housed in a Grade II listed building the Old Blind School takes its name from the building’s former occupation and, true to its legacy, the décor features historic teaching aids for the blind, and the renovation has kept the original lofty Georgian windows and high ceilings.

The building has been renovated by one of the North West’s most popular gastro-pub groups, the New Moon Company. Owner Paul Newman told the Liverpool Echo: “We wanted to it be accessible while still feeling a bit special... And it is just that. The menu uses top quality produce to bring brunch classics to customers with a touch of imagination.  

From our table we had full view of the chefs at the pass confidently preparing full English breakfasts, Belgian waffles, French toast and eggs of all varieties.

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The menu includes brunch classics from Belgian waffles to French toast

The menu also includes simpler fares of pastry, porridge, toast and bacon and sausage sandwiches. I ate the flash-seared prime English steak with fried egg and cubed home fries. There is no drinks menu, but all beverages could be ordered from the waiting staff. 

Brunch for two came to just over £20.

The Old Blind School, 24 Hardman Street, Liverpool L1 9AX; info@oldblindschool.com; 07763000041

Words by Kirsty Major

Brunching in...

Buckwheat with crispy bacon, avocado, and roasted tomatoes 

Serves 2

4 slices (rashers) pancetta or lean (streaky) bacon
1 lb / 450 g cherry tomatoes
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cup (6 oz / 175 g) buckwheat
¼ cup (2 fl oz / 60 ml) red wine
2 teaspoons grated parmesan
½ avocado, sliced
salt and black pepper

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Place a skillet (frying pan) over medium heat. Add the pancetta or bacon and allow to crisp, then turn over to crisp on the other side. Remove from the heat, set aside on a plate lined with paper towels, then snip into small pieces. Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C/Gas Mark 4. Put the tomatoes into a baking dish, add the extra virgin olive oil, and turn to coat them. Sprinkle with the oregano and some salt and pepper. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes, or until just black at the edges. Remove from the oven.

Reserve a few tomatoes for the garnish and put the rest into a blender and blend to a puree. Place a medium pan over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, the onion and garlic, and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until translucent. Add the buckwheat and pour in the red wine. Allow the wine to be absorbed by the buckwheat, then add the tomato puree.

Cook for 20 minutes, or until the puree has almost all been absorbed. Remove from the heat. Stir in the Parmesan and divide the buckwheat between 2 plates. Top with the avocado, pancetta or bacon, and reserved tomatoes. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper to serve.

Taken from “The Grain Bowl” by Nik Williamson and published by Phaidon at £19.95

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