Tucked away within the hive of activity, industry and creativity of the Cain's Brewery Village, TUSK goes about its business happily and rather impressively. The elephant-inspired restaurant is not one I'd previously heard of, so I did a little bit of research. After reading about their forward-thinking company values and focus on philanthropy, I was already a fan and was anticipating my evening there eagerly.
For the past two years, Andrea Edwards and her young, charming team have been cultivating a culture warmer than the log fire which blazes welcomingly amongst the seating area.
The Asian fusion-inspired menu is complimented wonderfully by its eclectic, colourful flavours, generous portions and more-than-reasonable pricing.
The menu becomes even more appealing with a sweet 25% discount, 7 days a week! It's only available through the Stevie App (sign up here).
Tusk shares the Northern Lights warehouse space with a multitude of varying businesses – something that's not uncommon Central Liverpool's soaring Baltic Triangle district. Although it does cater for a much broader demographic, it has quickly become a favourite haunt of vegans and vegetarians. Stands to reason, as around 50% of their menu is specifically vegan/vegetarian, with plenty of options across both day time and evening dishes.
Environmentally-conscious guests may also take comfort in the fact that TUSK asks for a donation of 99p with each bill - this is used to plant trees in areas which have experienced deforestation. This is part of their carbon-free drive, encouraging the protection and maintenance of our planet. They have also recently partnered with 'Viva!' a vegan-advocacy charity.
The staff are fantastic and warm, we chatted a bit and their charisma really lit up the space. We sit down by the fire with a beer, settling into the atmosphere. The place has a colourful Scandinavian feel; angular, minimalist design and 60's-style neon lighting. Although it was quiet when we arrived, we got the sense of the potential as a social space. The tables are close together, and inter-table communication seems vital!
We both ordered the soup of the day (£5.00) to start - they utilised the leftover Halloween-pumpkin with carrots very nicely. The soup was delicious; smooth and perfectly-viscous. It was just spicy enough to partner the warmth of the fire, while the seeds and cress added freshness and texture. Ideal for the mid-autumn blues.
Between dishes, we were roped into acting/modelling for a Cains Brewery village Christmas advert! A worthy example of the eclectic nature of the space. We sacked off the Santa hats as the main dishes arrived.
The Chicken Katsu curry (£9.50) was a very filling, sensation heavy dish. The flavours were distributed nicely, the turmeric and ginger very much in tandem with the fresh coconut and cucumber. It was a big serve, which Ross struggled to finish. Other than that, a great plate which I was slightly green-eyed of after having a spoonful.
The Thai Green Curry (£9.50) put an end to the envy very quickly. The level of spice was perfect; a tad over mild and an ideal canvas for the perfectly cooked vegetables and slightly sticky rice. A delightful dish, the stodginess of the rice and veg a perfect stomach filler.
Without being over the top, both dishes were very pleasing and left us content, full-bellied by the fire. Whisper it quietly, but Christmas has landed in the Baltic.
Hearty, generous portions and a genuine agenda straight from the heart, it is easy to fall in love with what TUSK are doing. Their food is simple and quickly made, executed and served very well. Sound pricing, exciting location and delicious dishes served with a smile. No frills; simple food served by humble people. TUSK are shaking up the casual food scene in the Baltic Triangle, one plate and planted tree at a time.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Robbie is a 28-year-old Scottish musician and restaurant manager living in Liverpool. Would have fish for breakfast every day if it were financially viable. Enjoys overtaking cars on his bike and getting lost in books