Tucked away a stone’s throw from Penny Lane, Spire is renowned for its “great vibe” and “creative cooking”, with the focus firmly on seasonal ingredients from the north-west of England – no wonder loyal customers and large groups are drawn from Allerton and beyond. Spire is owned and run by brothers Adam and Matt Locke who believe consistency is vital; that’s why they work hard to produce top-quality food and service every night of the week.
The intimate dining area is split across two floors linked with a spiral staircase; exposed brick, contemporary artwork and polished floors set the tone. Nothing is overdone, meaning the restaurant manages to maintain that rare balance of convivial and sophisticated. Tables can be configured to accommodate large groups as well as couples out on a date night, making Spire a popular spot for celebrations.
The kitchen keeps one eye on tradition, while jazzing up its offer for today’s inquisitive palates: ham hock is served with smoked cheese, fig purée and beetroot carpaccio; pan-fried sea bass comes with squash purée, baby leeks, crispy squid and fish sauce; Goosnargh chicken breast is accompanied by roasted pancetta, peas, lettuce and mustard jus, and every plate is beautifully presented. There are excellent cuts of Cumbrian beef and local lamb too, while puds could feature anything from strawberry mess cheesecake with strawberry sorbet to hot chocolate fondant with malted milk ice cream.
The two- or three-course set lunch and early evening menus offer exceptionally good value and a surprising amount of choice. Forget a choice of three items per course – at Spire, you can choose from five to seven dishes, which often includes steak at no extra cost. Vegetarians are catered to and there’s plenty to wash it all down with. Most wines by the bottle come in around the £20 mark (house wines are less), and there’s a decent selection by-the-glass too.