Thursday, 18 January 2018


I used to love going to the old Le Bataeu club on Duke Street when I was younger (we were over 18 obviously!) so nostalgia meant I was very sad to see it close down a few years ago. This sadness was quickly replaced with excitement however once I found out that it's basement would be taken over by Down The Hatch, Liverpool's very first real veggie/vegan junk food restaurant. It was about time that Liverpool city centre got it's very own modern meat free venue and last week was when we finally got round to being able to booking a table and giving it a try after all the Christmas and new year madness.

It was a cold and chilly January evening when we headed back up Duke Street and down the stairs into Down The Hatch. It's completely unrecognizable from the dark and dingy days of Le Bataeu, It's bright and inviting and you can finally see the gorgeous brick walls that run along the length of the dining area (were they always there? Who knows?). A bar situated to the right as you walk in is perfect for pre-dinner drinks but we were happily whisked straight over to our picnic style table to have a look over the menu. Our server was great at explaining all the different options to us (veggie/vegan/gluten free - I think all options are covered!).

For our first plate of food we went with the Dbl Take (Off). This is essentially a bun less burger however the burger is made from seitan which is a kind of wheat protein that is very popular and common in the vegetarian world. I've made things at home with it before and as a meat eater even I think that it's great. The two seitan patties served here were coated in a delicious crispy coating and they came served with a side of slaw as well as quite a hefty amount of fries. We were divided on the fries; I loved them and found them similar to Maccies chips but others were not so keen.  I say screw them and get those fries into ya!

Next up was another seitan creation. This time it was the strips and chips. Absolute beasts they were! I was expecting lot of little strips to come out like goujons but instead we got these two massive bits of seitan coated in a gorgeously seasoned batter. The seitan itself in case you were wondering is yummy (we likened it to tasting a bit like sage and onion stuffing but with a firmer consistency). I would love to know the recipe so I could try and make these at home. They came again with a shed load of fries and slaw which make for a perfect relaxed and informal bit of grub to tuck into whilst we chatted amongst ourselves

For my main I went for the "Captain Jacks!" This was a portion of BBQ jack fruit served on a burger bun (sloppy joe style as they say on the menu). I've actually made BBQ jack fruit myself at home and Down The Hatch's version is just as good. As a meat eater I can say that the texture is not the same as pulled pork which is what it is trying to emulate but the flavor is spot on. The BBQ sauce the jack fruit is slathered in is sweet, sticky and hard not to get all around your face. Its not a dish to eat if you're trying to look refined but who cares how you look when you're eating something this good!

Just a quick mention about the side dishes as well. Obviously we didn't try them all but two of us did get a portion of the halloumi fries and I just wanted to give them a shout out as they were delicious. There is a bit of a craze for halloumi fries at the moment and these are the best I've tried yet. The halloumi is soft without an ounce of squeak that halloumi can sometimes have if it's not cooked properly whilst the golden coating around the outside of each baton was light and crisp. I was in my element dipping them into my little tub of mayonnaise. If you are feeling especially hungry then these beauties are the ones you should choose to bulk out your meal.

With our food all devoured and appletizers drunk (school night after all!) it was time to head off home. I was really excited to come to Down The Hatch and I'm pleased to report that I wasn't disappointed. The restaurant looks brilliant, the team are knowledgeable and seem passionate about the product and the food is spot on. Be you veggie, vegan or raving carnivore you should still definitely give them a shot. Vegetarian food has come on leaps and bounds over the years and when it comes to meat free treats in Liverpool, Down The Hatch are top of the pack!

Find out more about Down The Hatch and their menu on their Facebook page by clicking here. They do a lot of offers on here as well so it's worth keeping an eye on it too try and grab yourself a bargain!

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