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The Egg Cafe is an enjoyably ramshackle and bo-ho cafe-cum-gallery showcasing Liverpool’s engaging contemporary arts scene, and its emerging artists.

You don’t have to eat to see the art, but if you’re a veggie, we recommend you stay for lunch. The gallery perches on the top floor of a narrow, and old, city-centre building – it’s listed so unfortunately has no wheelchair access. It offers some lovely views across Liverpool’s rooftops and has a pleasing lofty-style aesthetic, all beams and timber-frame windows.

Ever since we arrived in Liverpool in the late 90s, the Egg Cafe has been a frequent destination for an inexpensive and enjoyable meal in wonderful surroundings in the city centre, especially since the Quiggins Cafe turned into a fashionable boutique.

The Egg is perhaps most famous for its thick doorstep wedges of bread to accompany its bubbling vats of fresh soup and form the basis of the most awesomely satisfying cheese on toast (or garlic bread – or both) in Liverpool.

They may be starters, but they’re not start portions and a bowl of soup bread and butter will set you back a you-won’t-believe-it three to four quid. If you’re looking for the axis of the best value and best tasting food in Liverpool, The Egg Cafe might just be the place.

Main courses include a range of dishes from quiches to salad plates and beanburgers, all of which will set you back less than a fiver. There are daily specials too for six quid.

Desserts consist of a generous slices of homemade cakes, from chocolate fudge to banana to carrot – all for under three pounds. And there are some of the cheapest coffees in Liverpool, available as a vegan option.

The Egg has recently start its own juices – mixed berries and beetroot is our favourite – for three quid. The Egg Cafe isn’t licensed, but you can take your own wine in exchange for a quid’s worth of corkage. There are off-licenses just around the corner on Bold Street so you shouldn’t have to look too far.

In an age of Instagram and trendy seitan-ic Veganism, The Egg feels a little like a throwback. It’s not fancy but it feels homely and authentic – simple food that’s good for the soul.

As a venue, the Egg Cafe is worth a visit in itself. It’s a little oasis in the city centre: bright and airy in summer; and snug and warm in winter. Alongside the art there are occasional open-mic nights. Heck, we went to a rave there once.

Up a few rickety flights of stairs, on a little-noticed thoroughfare in Liverpool, lies something wonderful.

• Images by Athanasius, Flickr