It’s bank holiday season here in Blighty which means a free pass to eat and drink as much as your gut can handle because calories don’t count when school’s out, right? Mondays usually mean a depressingly healthy breakfast and a Balanced For You M&S microwave meal but yesterday, it was a dinner date at Salthouse Bacaro, Liverpool and boy were my regular Monday blues tickled pink.
Having spent the first half of the long weekend contending with a wicked post-holiday flu, it was definitely time to refuel and Bacaro is one of my favourite places to eat in Liverpool at the moment. As the saying goes, you should starve a fever and feed a cold and what better way to bit adios to my pesky affliction than with a series of small plates from what I consider to be the best tapas restaurant in the city.
Nestled away on a corner right opposite Neighbourhood Liverpool, Salthouse Bacaro is just a little off the beaten track if you’re out and about shopping in Liverpool ONE but one of the city’s most celebrated hidden gems for sure. Bacaro serves up Venetian small plates, served tapas style and this kind of social eating and sharing is what I’m all about. A casual dining style means dishes come as and when they’re ready and you can order to your heart’s content so passing an hour or three under the twinkling bar lights of Bacaro and its traditional Italian decor is always a cosy and welcoming experience.
As you’ll already know from my last post about magical little Mowgli, I’m a creature of culinary habit and I do tend to stick to my favourite dishes wherever I go. That is until you frequent somewhere, like Bacaro, that likes to shake up its menu in accordance with the seasons so I do always enjoy the refreshing element of surprise when I come here. New to us during last night’s long overdue pilgrimage to this sunny corner of Liverpool’s Castle Street for example were some Crisp Fried Harissa Gnocchi (delish) and a Seared Salmon Fillet which came complete with a vibrant pink Spiced Beetroot Yoghurt.
Having said that, there are a few full-timers on the menu at Salthouse Bacaro that always find their way onto the check when me and my nearest and dearest eat there…
In fact, the Bacaro Braised Beef Croquettes have become a bit of a ‘thing’ amongst my family. We just can’t get enough of ’em. I mean, how can you pack that much flavour into one mouthful of deep-fried shredded beef and gravy? They’re like little grenades of gastronomic delight and their Pancetta counterparts are pretty tasty too. We tend to team these light bites up with some honey glazed chorizo from the Spuntini menu which I guess are best compared to bar snacks or nibbles.
I tend to always follow these up with a Buttermilk Chicken Milanese, which on the current version of the menu comes topped with a sunny-side-up fried egg and chimmicurri seasoning; the (best) oven-baked lasagne (in Liverpool), a little chunk of succulent Chargrilled Fillet Beef (sans tempura prawns, sorry) and one of the plethora of mini pizzettes on offer. Last night I went for the spicy pulled beef, harissa mayonnaise and salted ricotta pizzette and it blew the Domino’s Personal Pizza we had shared earlier in the day to tide us over right out of the water.
(Speaking of water, make sure you have a iced cold glass on hand if you’re going to follow in my pizzette footprints cause that spicy pulled beef ain’t lyin’)
The Bellini Bar is always a firm favourite with me and mine too and there’s always a Grapefruit Bellini or two floating around the table but we have been known to sink a few Peaches & Cream Bellinis and a Raspberry Mint edition too. The Hazelnut Bellini (not available at the moment) that was on the menu last summer was a interesting choice to say the least and not necessarily one I’m personally keen to repeat again but it did go down a hit with a few of partners in dine at the time. If you’re not a fizz kinda guy or gal then hit the Campari & Aperol Bar instead – I’ve heard wonderful things about the Strawberry Aperol Spritz.
Do make sure you leave room for dessert though because these guys sure know how to rustle up the sweetest of treats as well as mean bowl of meatballs. I have been known to leave Bacaro looking a little green around the gills after stuffing my face with faaar too many surplus small plates but my god, that Salted Caramel Chocolate Pot is irresistible. A smooth, semi-sweet chocolate dish is topped off with lightly whipped peanut cream and a generous sprinkling of shortbread crumble. Not one for the fainthearted but a rich and indulgent luxury most definitely worth the challenge.
Naturally, I always win.