The sign outside Julian’s restaurant says it all: “It’s all about the food”. Anyone who has eaten there will agree.
From home-grown herbs to carefully sourced meats – Julian rides his motorbike up to his native North Wales to select the best cuts in person – it’s a haven for serious food lovers.
Julian and Jackie Davies opened their bistro in 2004, with a focus on excellent food and friendly service. It is a bistro-style, intimate restaurant serving international and modern British cuisine.
They oversee every detail themselves, and it feels like eating at a friend’s house – albeit a friend who is a very good host indeed.
Julian learnt his trade at the Chester Grosvenor Hotel, starting at just 18 and working his way up to sous chef, second in command of the huge award-winning kitchen. In 14 years there he catered for royalty and learnt how to make every dish from scratch. Along the way he fell in love with making exquisite sauces, created slowly from fresh ingredients and packed with authentic flavour.
From there he went out on his own, working at restaurants across the region, including a stint as head chef at the Wheatsheaf Inn, Raby, being named Chef of the Year in the Wirral Tourism Awards.
It was there that he met wife Jackie, and together they opened Julian’s, a hidden gem at the Meols end of Hoylake’s busy high street.
While Julian runs the kitchen, Jackie gives the same love and attention to detail front of house, making sure customers always feel at home. She was recently featured in our power list of 100 women leaders in food and drink.
Fantastically knowledgeable about food and drink, she knows regular customers by name and offers excellent recommendations from the menu.
“Often it’s the dishes on the menu that people wouldn’t think of that they end up loving the most,” she laughs. “Obviously the Welsh lamb and steak dishes are always popular, but there’s a dish on at the moment that’s actually a meat loaf of gorgeous pork and beef. Everyone who has tried it raves about it, and the next time they come in it’s the first thing they order.”
“The French have a good way of describing things,” adds Julian. “Sometimes in English things don’t sound as beautiful. Something like Haddock Veronique is always popular – it’s a fresh fillet of haddock, cooked in cream, white wine and grapes, and again, once people try it they order it again and again.”
Provenance is everything. Cheese comes from the Liverpool Cheese Company in Woolton and vegetables are sourced daily, ensuring freshness and flavour.
Quality comes at a price, but Julian and Jackie are keen to keep their menus affordable, making the most of seasonal produce and offering up great deals throughout the week.
There’s a Fish and Chips deal with two courses for £9.95 Tuesday-Friday from 6pm-7pm, an impressive Table d’hôte menu on Thursdays with three courses for £17.50 and the popular Tuesday wine offer, which serves two courses plus a bottle of house red, house white or house rosé wine for each couple for £16.50.
There have been regular awards along the way for Julian and Jackie, including a 2018 Certificate of Excellence from Tripadvisor, but most feedback comes from customers.
“Once they find us, customers tend to keep coming back,” says Jackie. “We have a lot of regulars and most of our new business comes from word of mouth recommendations, which is fantastic. We’re lucky to be part of such a good community. I can’t imagine anywhere we’d rather be.”