Liverpool cafe finds menu from 1913 during refurbishment

Harriet Brewis
Friday 07 May 2021 08:28
news

The menu featured everything from sweatbreads and peas to lobster salad

(LEAF)

A menu dating back more than 100 years has been found at a cafe in Liverpool after it fell from the rafters during renovation work.

Workmen discovered the slice of culinary history while peeling back the old ceiling at the LEAF eatery on Bold Street.

The menu, dated Wednesday, January 15, 1913, listed lobster salad and gelatine of veal among its offerings.

The bistro-style restaurant which occupied the site at the time, called the Yamen Cafe, promised customers a selection of appetising “refreshments, luncheons and afternoon teas.”

LEAF founder and owner Natalie Haywood told CNN that the discovery was "mind blowing" and almost "creepy" – given that her cafe sells speciality teas just like its predecessor.

She said the menu, along with a waiter’s hat embroidered with the name “Yamen” and other historic items, were found tucked within the beams of the building’s mezzanine.

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"Down came fluttering from the ceiling this menu from 108 years ago. It’s in absolutely unbelievable condition," she said.

Diners at the time could choose from Irish stew, spaghetti, Russian and Chinese tea, banana fritters and meringues chantilly with pears, among other cosmopolitan delicacies.

Liverpool’s cuisine at the time reflected its status as a global maritime hub, with French favourites served alongside more traditional English fare, the BBC reports.

"The quality and standard of the food being served before the First World War is so forward thinking, so advanced, that it must have been the culinary hot spot of Liverpool," Haywood told CNN.

She told the US broadcaster that Bold Street now has a "bohemian" feel to it but was an "exclusive" area in the 1900s  – more like London’s Bond Street.

"We have had a very decadent and illustrious past and I think that really proves that we were forward thinking on the culinary side of things as a city," she added.

The cafe could also be hired out for private ‘dances, parties, concerts and lectures’

(LEAF)

The cafe’s boss said she had appealed to local historians to shed some light on the artifacts and had contacted an art gallery for advice on how to handle them.

Because they were left in such pristine condition, she believes the items may have been left there on purpose as a sort of “time capsule”.

Haywood aims to proudly display the items to LEAF customers and will permanently add two dishes – the Irish stew and Welsh rarebit – to the menu, she told CNN.

She also plans to serve a more extensive range of meals from the menu once lockdown restrictions have lifted and the refurbishment is complete.

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