Paul Askew to open new Liverpool restaurant at Duke Street Market

26 October 2021 by
Paul Askew to open new Liverpool restaurant at Duke Street Market

Paul Askew, chef-patron and owner of Liverpool's Art School restaurant, has revealed he is opening a new venture called Barnacle in the city's Duke Street Market next month.

Named in homage to Askew's father, who was a merchant navy sea captain for Blue Star Line and was known as ‘Captain Barnacle Bill Askew', the concept has been inspired by Liverpool's maritime history and global connections and will be "more accessible" than the Art School, geared towards a younger demographic.

It will serve dishes using local ingredients and international culinary techniques, for example, stout soda bread reflecting Liverpool's Irish connection made with Oyster Catcher stout brewed in the Wirral.

Askew told The Caterer: "It's exciting for me because it's a bit of an homage to my Dad, who in taking me halfway around the world and back got me into food in the first place, but also to show off the amazing, world-class ingredients we have in the Liverpool city region. I wanted to appeal to Scousers and locals as well as people coming into the city for staycations and tourists."

He said the aim was "fly the flag of the region" by using producers from within a 25-mile radius, such as Ward's Fish of Birkenhead, Edge & Son Butchers, From Field to Fork farm butter and Wirral Watercress.

The price point for a prix fixe three-course menu with amuse bouche and bread will be about £36, with a two-course option at £28 and snacks and additional items priced from £7 up to sharing cuts of meat or fish for £25-30.

The brasserie will be overseen by Askew, with his son Harry in an operations director role while chef-restaurateur Harry Marquart, who previously worked at the Art School and already operates Kelp and Bone and Block at the market, will initially oversee the Barnacle kitchen as head chef. Kieran Gill and Jake Lewis have joined the project as senior and junior sous chefs, respectively, having also previously worked under Askew.

Situated on the market's mezzanine level, the 42-cover restaurant and bar has been designed by Crave ID, which also created the Art School's cellars and Moriarty private dining room. The project has been a joint £100,000 investment between Duke Street Market, and the Askews and Marquart.

Askew said he was particularly attracted by the business model, which will require the tenants to only pay a percentage of turnover as rent: "You don't have to sign up for a big, long fixed term lease with fixed rental agreements and a massive fit-out. So if it's very quiet and business drops, the landlord takes the risk with you, and if it's very, very busy, we're all happy. It's the model that allows us to grow, at a time like this growth is key, we need to try and grow our way to recovery," he said.

He added that while he has been capping bookings at the Art School and not opening the bar and private dining on certain days due to staff shortages, "things have started to ease on the recruitment front".

Marquart said: "I'm so proud of Barnacle. Liverpool has an incredible feeling right now and watching the revival of old buildings is testament to the times when shipping brought the city all kinds of food discoveries. Paul has been a figurehead for the city's hospitality sector for years we are blessed to be working with him again. We share the same beliefs in food - quality, locally sourced ingredients and their sustainability are the foundation of Barnacle."

Matt Farrell, director of Duke Street Market, added: "Myself and the Duke Street Market team are delighted to welcome Barnacle to the mezzanine. Sustainability is the core ethos of the market and so Barnacle will fit in perfectly here with its focus on supporting local farmers, butchers, bakers and fishmongers.

"Paul and Harry are both highly esteemed chefs and renowned for their expertise in the industry. Harry already manages two fantastic kitchens at the market and we have a great relationship with Paul; this collaboration marks the next stage in driving the market forward as a culinary beacon for the city."

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