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Note: Duke Street Slim’s Pork Chop Express is now permanently closed.

How many restaurants are named after a throwaway bit of set design from Big Trouble In Little China? Few, we’d suggest. In the case of Slim’s Pork Chop Express it’s a reference to the truck driven by Kurt Russell in John Carpenter’s action comedy.

The mulleted protagonist drives a truck called the Pork Chop Express, delivering meat around the States. Which is fitting, as Slim’s won’t disappoint carnivores – delivering meat is a speciality here. Don’t be put put off if you’re not a meat-eater, though, because there’s a range of veggie and vegan options too. Still, Tofu Express doesn’t quite have the same ring, eh?

Located at the top of Seel Street, barely a dozen yards from Liverpool’s Chinatown, Slim’s Pork Chop Express is a melding of American barbecue and Chinese streetfood. It’s an irresistible mix, especially when it comes to the restaurant’s slow-cooked meats.

Slim's Pork Chop Express meaty

From the same team that opened El Bandito, Santa Maluco and the adjacent Saltdog Slim’s (cocktail bar 81 Ltd is just above the latter), Slim’s Porkchop Express is another marker of Ropewalks‘ incredible transformation over the last ten years. And while the food may be dirty, in current parlance, there’s nothing trashy about it.

Most of the dishes are small plates, meaning there’s fusion in the air – a bit of this, a dash of that. Salt-and-pepper Sui Mai, chicken wings with a range of sauces, duck spring rolls, burned ends (sticky, blackened strips of meat hewn from the slow-cooked joints of pork, brisket – whatever’s being smoked on a daily basis over charcoal in the josper grill). It’s a gastronomic pick’n’mix that straddles the Pacific, via a trip to downtown San Francisco.

It’s a gastronomic pick’n’mix that straddles the Pacific, via a trip to downtown San Francisco.

There are big fat burgers and sandwiches to boot, plus a range of intriguing brunch-based dishes that match meat with sweet. Can’t decide? How about a Lo Pan Banquet: Philly cheese steak spring rolls, salt and pepper ribs, char sui bun, sui mai and homemade sauces.

Perhaps surprisingly there’s plenty for veggies and vegans at Slim’s Pork Chop Express. Again the menus takes its cue from American and Chinese cuisines: Tofu bites, mac’n’cheese and ‘Lo Pan Fries’ – house fries with curry sauce, spring onions and red chilli topped with tofu and sriracha.

On Sunday you can choose from roasts: brisket, beer-can chicken (picture a chicken roasting in an oven, sitting on an open can of beer, a nut roast (if you prebook) and a guest meat. There are rotating deals most days the week, plus a happy hour from 3-7 weekdays. Fridays: £20pp gets you smoked brisket, baby back ribs, smoked sausage, ‘fried kornflake chicken’, jumbo chicken wings, slaw, pickle, fries, greens and beans. Good luck with that.

So what’s with the Big Trouble In Little China reference? Well, the big boss tells us it’s one of his favourite films – and with Chinatown on the doorstep, well… If every restaurant needs a narrative these days Slim’s certainly owns it – the cult film is plastered across the walls.

It feels like some goofy fun and contributes to a friendly, laidback atmosphere. Where else, for example, could you order grilled corn topped with actual Frazzles? It’s pretty bonkers, but it’s bloody good. Slim’s Pork Chop Express doesn’t take itself too seriously, but there are no half measures with the food.