As with the Annie’s Tea Rooms I have to confess that this is being written vicariously with the views of Red (my wife) as some of us were hard at work rather than lunching! Oh and the missing apostrophe – yes I know but that is how they write it.
Red spent the week putting in a shift in and around the house: half building a bar, half putting doors on some cupboards, half…. well I am sure you get the picture.
Anyway, Red found herself in the unusual position of having a two week half term, with the second week being spent sans monsieur, as Fidget, Shy (my sons) and I were back to work / school. To be fair to Red she spent the week putting in a shift in and around the house: half building a bar, half putting doors on some cupboards, half…. well I am sure you get the picture. The other half of her time she spent lunching with various females who also enjoy the luxury of daytime freedom.
And so it was that on the Thursday she visited a recent addition to Tim Bacon’s (the guy that looked like a nice Piers Morgan on Restaurant Wars) Living Ventures’ portfolio, The Smugglers Cove: an 18th Century styled bar and restaurant perfectly located in one of the old warehouses of the Albert Dock in Liverpool. She was joined on this voyage of discovery her salty sea dog mother, Classic. Red picks up the story ….
From the bright sunshine we entered into a rather dark and atmospheric bar area, decked out (Ade – see what I did there) in Treasure Island shabby chic, we particularly liked the lamps (see pic). Hoping to meet the rest of the cast of Pirates of the Caribbean, we were greeted straight away and escorted to a pleasant table for two by the window. After perusing the considerable choice available on the menu, and bearing in mind this was my fourth straight day lunching, we opted for the less calorie demanding Smugglers Cove Deli Board (a choice of 4 items for £9.95).
From the bright sunshine we entered into a rather dark and atmospheric bar area, decked out in Treasure Island shabby chic
Our 8 items were as follows: olives, Greek salad, houmous, coronation chicken, poached salmon fillet, roast ham, pomegranate and minted pearl cous cous and finally four bean salad. Our views on each were as follows:
- Initially presented with out of date olives, they were replaced by some fresh succulent and juicy olives.
- The Greek salad combined a plentiful supply of salty feta cheese with red onion, tomato and cucumber.
- The houmous was a star of this galaxy of deli treats: packed full of flavour, adorned with whole chickpeas and plenty of it.
- Not a fan of Coronation chicken, Classic described it as splendid, well seasoned and with just the right amount of spice.
- The poached salmon fillet was cooked perfectly, without hint of bones and served as a roll.
- Roast ham was also well cooked, juicy to eat, nice texture though, in my opinion, would have been made even better if the fat had been trimmed.
- Pomegranate and minted pearl cous cous was very different to normal cous cous this was ‘big’ cous cous! Sadly though it only had 4 pieces of pomegranate.
- Finally the four bean salad, a mix of sweet corn, kidney beans, broad beans and cannellini beans cooked just the right side of al dente and surprisingly flavoursome.
Accompanying this treasure chest (Ade – see what I did again) of deli delights was an excellent Turkish flatbread, which was so good we ordered another.
The houmous was a star of this galaxy of deli treats
Red summed up by saying the whole experience was very pleasurable, apart from the school trip lining up outside the window, viewing her and Classic as relics in a museum ( no need to say anything I think!). Even this, however, failed to tarnish their experience which was clearly being shared by the other guests from across the age-ranges. In conversation with the waiter afterwards, he informed Red and Classic that this is the first of hopefully 3 or 4 similar nautically inspired restaurants to be developed across the North West. So Mr Bacon, thank you for a great addition to the Liverpool seafront, though I am not sure how far you can stretch the coastal theme towards Manchester: after all Pirates of the Ship Canal just doesn’t seem to work!
Type: family / budget restaurant
- Service: 9/10 Very prompt, polite and attentive
- Atmosphere: 9/10 initially quiet but built nicely in the large and extravagantly decorated dining room
- Food: 8/10 varied, well cooked and very tasty
- Value for money: 8/10 £25 for 2 for lunch with soft drinks
- Overall: 8.5 Red has promised to take me up The Smugglers Cove (phnar, phnar) some time soon
These are judged against the best of that type of restaurant. For example cafes against what you would expect from the best cafes, high end restaurants against the best high end restaurants etc.
Website: The Smugglers Cove