Castle Street’s comprehensive transformation from a shop-lined thoroughfare linking Liverpool One with the Business District – not to mention its mirroring of Bold Street as a gastronomic hub – is complete. It has its own Castle Street Coffee.
The move across town to open up a sister outlet for Sam Tawil’s much-loved Bold Street Coffee has opened up a new front in independent coffee houses in what was once called the Business District, but looks increasingly like a thriving food and drink quarter.
While we’ve always been happy to pop into Bean or One Fine Day around this part of town, the truth is coffee drinkers around the Ropewalks or Baltic are spoiled for choice.
Castle Street Coffee has set up as a resident in Santa Maluco, a pizza rodizio that offers slices or discs of stonebaked delights on an eat-what-you-like-when-you-like basis.
It feels like a good fit: the Graffiti Spirits group that owns Santa Maluco and Saltdog Slim’s, Santa Chupitos, the much-missed Slim’s Porkchop Express and more besides matched with the people behind a genuine coffee renaissance in Liverpool.
And the partnership bring a dash of colour and attitude amid the hotel bars, eateries (Heritage is particularly worth seeking out) and winebars of Castle Street.
Spray-painted decorative concrete blocks, corrugated sheet metal, plywood and mosaic walls combine to create an aesthetic that might be more associated with the Baltic Triangle than the former hub of the city’s finance sector.
We can report the coffee has survived the transition well. Rich, bitter and full-bodied with enough tang to challenge the taste buds…
There’s a sense of colleagues taking an hour out of the office, young couples meeting for lunch or just people popping in to read or browse their feeds. A bit of a melting pot.
But it works. It marks out Santa Maluco and Castle Street Coffee as an enclave that offers something a little different from the grandiose Victoriana and art nouveau that encase bland offices in this part of town.
The interior of Santa Maluco is a blend of colours, textures, noises and inviting smells. Look across the street from one of the many booths and there’s a spectacular view of Liverpool Town Hall.
We can report the coffee has survived the transition well. Rich, bitter and full-bodied with enough tang to challenge the taste buds, it’s probably best enjoyed with few, if any, additions. It’s a reminder of just how much coffee has come on the city over the last decade.
And a brunch menu has joined Santa Maluco’s food offerings – Castle Street Coffee’s brunch is serviced until 3.30pm every day and is a simple affair that sticks to porridges, pancakes, yoghurts and stuff on toast.
But there are butties and fry-ups too. We tried the Baked Eggs – not just your usual affair of tomato sauce, Castle Street Coffee’s version comes with mixed peppers, chickpeas, black beans, feta and harissa to boot.
The black beans and harissa are an addition – a shakshuka-esque take on the dish, more Moorish or Middle Eastern than European. Protein-heavy, it’s a filling option at £6.95 – and that’s without the enormous flatbread on the side.
We had some of Santa Maluco’s finest while we were there too – it seemed rude not to. Indulgent pizzas, chewy in all the right ways, Neapolitan-style, some loaded fries and perhaps the highlight – a bowl of crispy cassava crisps with a sweet-and-sour pineapple dip.
Fundamentally it seems like the coffee will be the lure, as far as Castle Street Coffee goes, though. And that transforms Santa Maluco – between lunch and dinner service anyways – into the interesting hangout-cum-workspace-cum-meet-up joint we always loved Bold Street Coffee for.
Well, that and the coffee. Did we mention the coffee?
Castle Street CoffeeSanta Maluco,
2 Castle Street,