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Mathew Sloane.

IT'S happening. It's actually happening. The most important venue in Liverpool's culinary history is closing. As vibrant and as amazing now as it was 40-odd years ago when it first opened, The Everyman Bistro is closing its doors on July 2. The theatre will reopen, and will continue to deliver gripping, refreshing and relevant performances for zillions of years to come.

The basement may well open its doors again, but it won't be under the masterful stewardship of Paddy Byrne, Dave Scott and Tim Byrne and it is unlikely to have the combined genius of head chef, Tom Gill; general manager, Jeff Hale and Lord of The Bar, Joe Power looking after you and your foodie, boozy, vibey desires. There are countless other heroes working at the Ev, I could name drop all day long. I'm writing this in the blind hope that an eccentric billionaire keeps this world beating team together and builds an exact replica, with larger loos, just down the road.

I'm all for change, and it's a comforting truth that we have tons of ace venues in our city, and I'm sure there will be more to come, but I'll end my little bit of moribund woolgathering with this - Liverpool will miss The Everyman Bistro.

On a much brighter note, I'm coming home for a bit soon. I'll be heading to Dublin first of all, for the most important meeting since Adam had his rib plucked out and watched it turn all brilliant. I shall then be embarking on a fullthroated, well-dressed, firm-footed and ably assisted five-week march through the streets of Liverpool, demanding lashings of banter fuel, truckloads of well-seared dead things and massive amounts of singing.

I shall be kicking down the doors of The Dispensary, demanding pints of anything; waltzing up to The Belvedere for stupid amounts of gargling. There will be a call into the Fly and its revered sister, Rigby's, for tons of weird gear and probably bits of dead shark. The Noble House will be getting a firm visit, and I'm going to test that magic old wine machine to its limits with my unfaltering demands for truly stupendous wine. Vinea will get nothing short of a pummelling, I'm starting in France and moving through the world until I'm sat in a puddle of something wicked and Australian, crying for my mum.

Chinatown will see many visits, polite and otherwise. I shall endeavour to behave while in the company of Terry Lim, in his world-beating restaurant, Yuet Ben, and I hope Mr Chan can put up with me trying to speak Cantonese in The North Garden at three in the morning with a mouthful of angelic squid.

There shall be a romantic and wonderful visit to the incomparable 60 Hope Street, and I expect various other venues will feel the full force of my return from exile and will prepare the staff for my boundless enthusiasm for early wassailing.

Just to set your mind at ease, I haven't been starved of decent plonk while sauntering about in the Caribbean.

Food has been an adventure; some of it incredible, a lot of it, well, American.

The mad spices of Caribbean tucker have mostly been going down well with an ice cold beer, but I've been surprised at how well a decent bottle of white Burgundy can handle the local food. If you're thinking of having a crack at Jamaican jerk pork or chicken, try a decent Pouilly Fuisse.

All of those smoky, buttery, honey flavours from the wine do a right old dance with that crackpot combination of heat, cinnamon and madness and regale your worthy palate with a brilliant if different experience. If Mozart had been reborn and played keys for AC/DC - that kinda thing.

I'll finish on a sombre note - alcohol-free anything is evil. Drink Vimto or get off the horse and stay at home.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jun 21, 2011
Words:647
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