British food and drink is undergoing a renaissance, and at Pen Factory on Hope Street in central Liverpool, they are riding the crest of that wave. Culinary entrepreneur Paddy Bryne – once of the bistro at the Everyman Theatre next door – and head chef Tom Gill have built a menu of small plates that changes twice daily to ensure diversity and freshness, as well as an extensive repertoire of beers, wines, cocktails and desserts. A great spot close to the many attractions of the city centre’s Rodney Street conservation area and the Georgian Quarter, bookings are advised.
Paddy Byrne and Tom Gill are old hands in the Liverpool restaurant trade, with years of experience. They were previously involved at the iconic Everyman Theatre bistro just next door, and their latest effort in the city centre’s award-winning Hope Street Quarter (north of the Georgian Quarter proper), the Pen Factory, has the potential to be even better. The ethos is based around small plates to share – with an emphasis on British cuisine – and a beer menu and wine list built to go with the food.
The food at Pen Factory is predominantly British in origin, but with plenty of variation. Cheese & onion crisp butties, potted shrimps from Southport and broad beans are combined with traditional tapas favourites – patatas bravas, kikones, chorizo – and small plates from further afield, such as baba ganoush, chicken and chickpea curry and chilli linguine. Central Liverpool has few places that can compete with the Pen Factory’s menu, and this hasn’t been lost on the foodies scouring the city centre: so make sure you book a table in advance to avoid disappointment.
An innovative restaurant slightly out of the city centre next to the Everyman theatre. The atmosphere is friendly and the decor simple but effective. Food and wine excellent
Really enjoyed our first visit to the Pen Factory. Will definitely go again soon. Very tasty, well presented food and very good service too. Hi
Great meal and service as usual. The salads are great and a really tasty accompanyment to your meal. Would definitely recommend this restaurant for lunch.
I have now eaten at the Pen Factory twice. On both occasions, really tasty food and friendly, helpful staff. Recommend the fish taco. Top notch!
We visited the Pen Factory on a Friday night for dinner. My partner and I had a lovely time and shared an assortment of dishes including the chorizo (which was to die for), prawns, spanish chip butty and angry fried chicken. Service when we arrived was lovely. However, when we went to order food we were suddenly informed that one of the dishes we had chosen was out of stock (this was disappointing given the deliberation it had taken to choose our dishes). This did however, work in our favour as we replaced the missing dish with the chorizo which was my favourite dish of the night. As the evening progressed service became a little more lacklustre. Our plates were cleared and we were asked if we'd like any deserts or coffee. We told our waitress that we didn't want anything immediately but that in 15-20 minutes we would probably order something. 15 minutes later, after about 5 minutes of trying to catch a staff members attention, we ordered a dessert to share and a coffee for my partner. The waiter went to look at the till, saw the time and said sorry the kitchen is closed now so we can't sort out your dessert but I'll make your coffee. He then returns about 2 minutes later to tell us that actually the coffee machine is being cleaned so we can't have the coffee either. I completely understand that the kitchen needs to close at some point but it would have been nice to have been warned that the kitchen would be closing soon when we told our waitress we'd order dessert shortly. Another member of staff came over to us after the gent returned to tell us there was no coffee and asked if she could get us anything else. I mentioned to her that we had wanted dessert but that we had been told the kitchen was closed. She asked what we were wanting to order (chocolate and pistachio tart) and said she would check with the kitchen if they would be able to plate one up for us. This is a nice gesture on her part but something I would have expected in the first place given that the tart was served cold and simply needed to be put on a plate to serve. We remained for another half hour or so but again found it very difficult to catch a staff members attention when we wanted to pay. This would be understandable if staff were busy but the waiter we spoke to earlier could be seen in the kitchen boxing up leftover pieces of sticky toffee pudding (presumably for staff members to take home). He subsequently stood at the entrance to the kitchen eating a piece, with other staff members going in for a bit too. A further member of staff could be seen stood by the coffee machine eating from a packet of crisps. Having got fed up of waiting to get someones attention, we had to go to the bar to ask for our bill. All in all, the start to our evening was lovely, the service and food were great. As the evening got later we lost the nice atmosphere and service which did put a bit of a downer on an otherwise lovely evening. I would definitely return though perhaps with a table booked before 8:30. Hopefully this way I will be able to avoid the issues above.
The Pen Factory was very busy and vibrant when we arrived on a Friday evening. Our party of nine ordered a couple of small plates each and these arrived at timely spaced intervals. Each and every one of the dishes were absolutely delicious and a good size. Fabulous bread, beautiful salads. There was a good selection of well kept beer, great wine, lovely friendly efficient staff and a great if sometimes noisy atmosphere. Totally cracking night out, very reasonable pricing and absolutely recommended for those enjoy informal, relaxed settings. Every single member of my party commented on how much they had enjoyed the evening.
Eight of us visited the Pen Factory all bar me where from out of town. All of us were impressed (though not my first time there). The food was great and excellent value for money. We all went for the 2 small plates for £10. though the plates weer not as small as they can be, which obviously was nothing to complain about. Finally the staff wwre friendly and helpful. Recommended
Food good as always, Staff friendly and helpful. We thought the sausage dish wasn't as tasty as the other food we had but it was still very good. Only gripe is the two drinks orders we put in to waitresses didn't arrive and we went to the bar ourselves instead. The fact that the Pen Factory is always busy is testament to the fact that they're serving good food at an attractive price and have a choice of interesting craft beers, We'll be back
Lovely hidden venue; food was excellent, reasonably priced and didn't take long to come out at all. Beautiful garden which catches the sun, I'd recommend the Pen Factory for snacks & a few drinks or full evening meal. Only negative was that waiters were slow, hard to get hold of and seemed to forgot drinks we had ordered more than once! I'd definitely go again, hopefully the poor service was a bit of a fluke.
Enjoyed our time at The Pen Factory. One small crit - we were seated swiftly and served swiftly but once we had finished our main course we got no service at all without asking and they forgot the coffee and had to be asked again. Won't stop me going again but it would help if they kept an eye on what was going on as they pass by.