Right boys and girls, books out and pens ready. Put the title ‘Why do we study history?’ …… Sorry but today’s review does have a slight historical theme.
Vincenzo’s birthday provided the back drop and excuse for this week’s restaurant visit to The Tree House in Crosby. So an early Saturday evening saw Red and I join Vincenzo and his better half, Lady Furness, for a celebratory binge. For the uninitiated here is a whistle-stop history of the place. If you are all historied out, and who could blame you with the almost constant 1st WW documentaries on at the moment – did you know it is 100 years this year….., then skip the next paragraph. If, however, you love all that sort of thing, you know – Battle of Hastings (keep blinking H it will work its way out), Henry VIII and his ’6 knives’, Blackadder etc then read on.
*Cue voice over by that Scottish bloke from coast with the Joshua Tree Bono haircut* The building it is located in was, at one time, a pet shop but was then left empty before its culinary re-birth as the Vinyard – an ambitious first stab at a wine bar beyond the safer harbour of Crosby Village. Sadly, this was short lived, in large part owing to what appeared to be the ineptitude of the owner and the low quality food it served. Time marched on and, under new owners, the Fat Italian opened, hitting upon the winning formula its owners had mastered in Ormskirk: good food, great value for money and wide choice. Its success required more space and so the FI shifted further up the road to slightly larger premises and, in its place, the Tree House was opened. Initially it acted as a wine bar but, more recently, has converted back to being a full time restaurant like the FI and the owners other successful Crosby venture, So Salsa. That is the end of the history lesson, for homework I want a 12 page analysis of the causes of the Franco-Prussian War.
Welcome back to our non-historians and on with the review. This is a very good mid-range restaurant offering a great selection of interesting staples from the main menu, an excellent fixed early bird menu and a small but very enticing specials board. We arrived into a small but busy dining room, decorated along the tree house theme complete with tree and arboreal canopy above, oh and posters including a parrot (ref to the pet shop of old).
We were greeted by Rich, the excellent, and according to Vincenzo, “ruggedly handsome” (I don’t know maybe it is some sort of mid-life crisis) Front of House and quickly seated and served. I found myself unable to resist the specials which Rich generously allowed to count as part of the early bird, with a small supplement, and chose the pork belly and scallop starter followed by the Fillet Steak special. Red and Lady Furness had the duck salad to start and haddock goujons. As for the birthday boy he opted for the chicken liver pate before joining me on the Fillet Steak special.
“Vincenzo has a form of footballing autism – think Dustin Hoffman with studs”
To gasps of extreme emotion from Vincenzo, no not relating to Rich but rather the updates from the Everton / Man City game (I feel it only right that I explain now that V has a form of footballing autism – think Dustin Hoffman with studs), our starters arrived.
The pork belly and scallops were divine: both cooked excellently and combined with a butternut squash puree they offered a delicate balance of flavours. Vincenzo’s pate was good: smooth and flavoursome, with sufficient small toasts. Meanwhile Red and LF made short work of their delicious duck salads, though they both bemoaned the fact this new version did not contain the noodles of previous visits, but as we have learned from history, not all change is progress.
As part of the celebration the ladies indulged themselves with cocktails, of which the Tree House has a decent selection, choosing the classic cosmo. Often cocktails can be a disappointment of weak or ill-constructed mediocrity but not here. Both ladies, experts in this field, declared them top knotch.
The gem of the dish, however, was an unusual potato, shallot and cheese empanada.
Our mains arrived just as V clung to the vain hope of a late EFC equaliser. The steak special was good, a well cooked (rare) fillet, though it suffered slightly, as many fillets do, from that slight lack of flavour that you get with other cuts. The gem of the dish, however, was an unusual potato, shallot and cheese empanada. This resembled a sweet honey bun but had a great savoury filling which was delightful. The ladies enjoyed their haddock goujons which were fresh and wrapped in a light crispy batter, served with a mini portion of chips and the obligatory mushy peas and tartar sauce.
Finally to console V after the final EFC result came in, we decided to share desserts. Red and I (like I had any say in the matter) took the assiette of strawberries whilst V and LF sought comfort in the sticky toffee pudding. The latter was packed full of warm, gooey toffee, maintaining a moist rather than stodgy texture. As for the assiette of strawberry it consisted of strawberry macaroons, small squares of strawberry jelly, mini strawberry flavoured meringues and a strawberry topped sponge complete with delicious strawberry sauce and ice cream. This was a real treat: the Henry VIII of puddings, the JFK of desserts, the King Arthur of final courses, the Julius Caesar of sweets….well I am sure you get the picture.
And so the meal came to an end. As we set off for post meal drinks at our exclusive club we bid farewell to Rich, one of us with a hug, and reflected upon an excellent meal, marred only slightly by V’s growing realisation that, as a LFC supporter, this might be another season where success is more likely to exist in history than the present.
Type: family / budget restaurant
- Service: 9.5/10 All round excellent but the extra .5 is for Rich
- Atmosphere: 8/10 nice small dining room, just a touch warm
- Food: 8/10 good food, well cooked
- Value for money: 9/10 early bird a great offer at less than £13
- Overall: 8.5 A true treasure of Crosby
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.
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