Just around the corner from my house, too close actually, is a strange little walkway of shops called Myrtle Parade. Except it doesn’t really have any shops of use but it does have a plethora of restaurants of foreign extraction, Malaysian, Greek, Chinese, African, and an angry man in a booze shop. It’s not an attractive little area, it’s recently become far more attractive as they removed the recycling bins that had become a waste ground for all the rubbish in South Liverpool. It’s still not a pretty area and it can be quite uncomfortable at night when groups of hoodies circle on their bikes with their vicious dogs. The dogs also leave their mess behind which adds to the lovely atmosphere! However, it is the neighbourhood and I’m strangely fond of it especially when it widens out to the little row of shops on Myrtle Street itself.
So like an angry giant stomping into this is TESCO. There are at least 10 Tesco branches within the 5 mile radius of our house but now they are building one on our doorstep and I finally understand the bewildering frustration of the all ladies in our village at home who stood up to be counted against the building of a new CoOp. However, it’s not that they’re building another TESCO even and it’s certainly not the desecration of what was an extremely ugly building but the little shops that I’m worried about. Most importantly S&A International, commonly known as the green and yellow shop. Run by the jolliest man in all of England, the green and yellow shop has everything you could ever need, well with the exception of pork products! The jolliest man in all of England knows everybody in the neighbourhood. He knows when people haven’t been in for a while, he looks out for all of the children in the area and he wishes you genuine luck every time you buy a lottery ticket. I am scared for the jolliest man in all of England, who incidentally to paint a clearer picture for you looks like the genie from Aladdin, because I am terrified TESCO will take his business and I would hate that. The awful thing, though, is that I will probably use TESCO, it is frighteningly close to the house and I need to purchase pork somewhere locally! But I want to make sure that if there is anything I could have previously bought in the green and yellow shop that I continue to do so.
So people rise up against the might of TESCO and if you can buy something from a small shop, please do.
So to the point of this post, I am going to write about Kimos which is on the same small bank of shops as the green and yellow shop. Most commonly known as little Kimos, it is the smaller brother of the enormous Kimos on Mount Pleasant which used to be a more modest affair and lost its sparkle when it moved to its now-no-longer-new premises two doors down. I have always been a bigger fan of the little Kimos because it backs on to the university and is where I spent the majority of my first year between lessons.
Now I could recount a recent visit but the sad truth is that I go so often that I thought I would amalgamate all of my trips into a generic review. So Kimos, packed at lunchtime and busy at all other times, Kimos is the perfect drop in cafe and takeaway. It is always full of a wonderful mix of people, teenage boys looking hard, young girls in lots of make up and their smartest clothes, the teachers of the university, parents of students visiting and a couple of requisite hippies.
They have recently had a major refurb inside which has created an upstairs. This is much more of a restaurant than the in/out of the cafe downstairs but they both dance to the same tune and the same menu. I have sat upstairs now and I think I like it even more than downstairs because it’s sparkly and it’s not quite as draughty which is important when you have come in for the hangover-busting power of their English breakfasts.
So the menu is an eclectic and diverse mix of Turkish/Greek/Moroccan/Arabic food mixed with classic British cafe food. Alongside English breakfast with a cup of tea is Kebdah, a mix of liver and red onions eaten as breakfast. There is wide array of cold sandwiches which are queued out the door for on a weekday lunchtime. There are hot sandwiches, one of my particular favourites being the club sandwich, with chicken, egg, cheese and salad and mayo. There are the expected pizzas, burgers and jacket potatoes but the real highlights exist in the kebabs, the tapas and the specials.
The kebabs are one of my real loves. Far from the kind of kebab that resembles someone’s thigh stuffed in a stringy, stale pitta on the way home from a night on the tiles, the Kimos kebab is a plate of fresh salad, hot pittas, a pile of chicken or lamb cooked in spices and mayonnaise and the hottest chilli sauce in the world. You can have this with the choice of fries, thin ones like McDonalds, or rice, perfectly cooked!
The tapas is wide and perfect. I love all of it but special mention has to be made of their own houmous. Anthony and I could live on their houmous alone. It’s so creamy and fresh. Strong with fresh garlic and packed full of chickpeas and tahini paste. We often have it to takeaway on the way home from work with a pile of fresh hot toasted pitta. Heaven!
The specials menu is unusual but interesting. As well as their own curry are listed various dishes that must be native to the Arabic countries the menu is based on, as well as the more obvious as lamb chops and fish and chips. I have to admit that I’ve never tried one but everytime I go, I say I will on the next visit!
There are no alcoholic drinks but you don’t mind because it’s very much a quick eat kind of a place and on a Sunday morning, with the papers, everyone is drinking the coffee and tea that come with the breakfasts.
It’s real comfort food, but it’s also exceptionally fresh tasting because of the amount of the fresh tomato, parsley and red onion salad that everything is stuffed with. It’s tasty and it’s quick and the girls behind the counter are more often than not friendly. It’s also super cheap from mains costing at most £7-8 and most things in the region of £5. It’s no wonder it’s a Myrtle Street institution. Long may it go on! I’d much rather have a sandwich from there than TESCO.