Liverpool restaurant Belzan makes it into top food bible, The Michelin Guide
4 weeks ago
Belzan is located on Smithdown Road, Liverpool
Belzan has made it into the prestigious Michelin Guide, just over five years after it was launched.
The neighbourhood bistro in Smithdown Road was praised for its ‘well-judged, interesting combinations’ of food, along with ‘portions that are as generous as they flavoursome’.
Inspectors say its unassuming location makes the modern bistro stand out even more and add: “The narrow room has a cosy feel, and service is confident and clued-up.”
Co-owner Chris Edwards is delighted. He says: “When the news came through we were paying a few bills and having a bit of a rubbish day, and so this was great!
“We suspected that the inspectors had been there. When they do these things, they come in multiple times throughout the year, and the chefs had said they’d had some ‘suspicious’ customers, so that was probably a vibe as to what was going on.
“But when we opened Belzan we had this goal in mind, that we would be considered among all these other amazing restaurants.”
He adds: “Liverpool is a bit of an overlooked city when it comes to the culinary scene. There’s some amazing stuff going on, and I’m sure other restaurants will get listings soon as well; it’s just good to see that it’s being looked at, and is being considered, on the same platform as other great culinary cities.”
Chris owns Belzan with business partners Owain Williams and chef Sam Grainger, with whom he also runs Madre – with a new one about to open in Manchester – and a new wine bar and coffee shop, Burnt Milk Hotel, in the Albert Dock.
They opened Belzan after travelling and visiting some of the best restaurants around the world, and it’s described as a bistro and wine bar serving humble dishes ‘inspired by places we’ve been and people we’ve met’.
“We wanted to bring a taste of our travels to South Liverpool, and it took a little while for us to find our feet and find our audience. But since the pandemic we’ve made a few changes and focused on our evening trade, and it’s paid dividends. This will mean so much to us.
“Being recognised by your peers is a huge deal. When these accolades come along, it means the world to the team, getting recognition for what they do.”
Head chef Mark Dickey now heads up the kitchen at Belzan and its small and talented team has been the key to its success. Its ethos has people, produce, and provenance at its heart and its menu changes with the seasons, but what is always constant, it says, is the attention and care given to every ingredient and guest that comes through the door.
Chris continues: “We wanted to make Belzan a community hub. Smithdown Road was always seen as a bit of a student area, but we used to live round there and we wanted to open a place we knew our neighbours and our friends would appreciate.
“It’s really become an important part of that area now, and on any one night you’ll see about 30-40% of the people in there are regulars – as well as it being a food destination – and that’s a real core clientele.
“We have been doing what we’ve been doing there for five years and we have been able to carve ourselves a little space. Time has given us the freedom to crystallise what we do and focus on what we do best.
“Because we’re on Smithdown Road we don’t have the noise of the city and wondering what our neighbours are doing, we cook the food that we want to cook, and trust ourselves that we can deliver high quality food and a high quality experience.”
Prized dishes on February’s menu include steamed sea trout, with bouillabaisse, rouille, and pickled mussels; confit duck leg, with pork belly cassoulet and gremolata, and a 28oz Porterhouse steak au poivre with radicchio salad.
It also boasts the Michelin Guide’s ‘must’ have menu favourite, the Guinness rarebit potato.
Chris says that with Madre about to open in Manchester and another project soon to be unveiled in Deansgate Square, 2023 is year of expansion.
And he smiles: “We couldn’t have been given a better boost than Belzan getting into the Michelin Guide. This sort of thing gives us great momentum going into the year, and hopefully draws a bit more attention to us.”