Anyone living in the Crosby area will remember the ‘old’ Charlie Parkers and the promise of a new restaurant being developed on Liverpool Road. The progress of the new restaurant seemed to move at a geological pace and the possibility of this new restaurant ever opening became mythical, like unicorns, the Loch Ness Monster, leprechauns and eskimos. However, last year it did open and, with the excuse of Lady Furness’ birthday, Red (the wife) and I, with friends Vincenzo and Lady Furness, were able to make a long awaited visit to this new family run restaurant, Ellingtons.
Most people I had spoken to beforehand had some apocryphal warning about the prices being very high, the service being very slow etc etc. Well don’t believe a word of it! We arrived into an atmospheric, modern, clean dining room with open brick walls, marble fire place and beautiful hardwood windows. Service was immediate and led from the front by the matriarch owner in a confident, friendly and very attentive manner (which was to continue throughout). Peronis and vodkas in hand we were offered a choice of tables and seated quickly. Menus arrived and a lengthy list of specials explained expertly.
To start I chose the chicken and almond cigars follow by the special seafood platter, Red the duck spring rolls and fillet with mash and madeira, Lady Furness took the goat’s cheese salad and the cod, mash and cider sauce whilst Vincenzo had the Vietnamese duck salad and also had the fillet and madeira. Red anguished over asking to change her mash to chips but needn’t have had any concerns as the staff were more than happy to help and amend the order. This was symptomatic of the whole evening. The service is excellent and with a careful eye you can see why. The owner is always around, watching, guiding and correcting the service of the staff in a firm yet encouraging way. Staff training here is crucial and you can tell. In addition to this there are a lot of serving staff, I think I counted 9 including the husband and wife owners, all knowing what they were doing and working harmoniously as a team. If I have said it once I have said it many times, service is crucial and only marginally behind the quality of the food in any restaurant. *dismounts from high horse*
Back to the food. The chicken and almond cigars were a delight. spring roll-like they were a well balanced combination of chicken, almonds, cinnamon, oregano, cumin, garlic and chilli which though delicious on their own were lit up by a raita yoghurt dressing and incredibly fresh chimichurri salsa. The duck spring rolls were a classic standard done well with an enjoyable dipping sauce. The Vietnamese duck salad was good but the duck according to Vincenzo, although done pink was a bit dry, maybe under the pass for a short while? Finally Lady Furness reported that the goat’s cheese parcel was delicious.
Once finished, the table was cleared away by an army of diligent staff and even when an error was made with Red getting gin instead of vodka, this was not only resolved quickly but with humour: the owner exposing the culprit of the error as her own daughter which she declared in front of us and her for our amusement, complete with apology.
The mains then arrived in good time. The seafood platter was exceptionally good. A combination of (apologies if I miss any fish out) crispy skinned fillets of hake, cod and trout, scallop, king prawns, crab and mussels. All of this was cooked in light and delicious sauce with a good hint of chilli and served with beans, carrot and fragrant rice. The two fillet steaks were cooked, as we were told, at a default of medium rare, this is not something Red likes usually but they were so well cooked and such good cuts that she loved it. Her chips were salted and crispy, whilst Vincenzo’s mash was light and creamy. The steaks were served with spinach, mushroom duxelle, glazed shallots and a deeply rich, sweet and luxurious madeira reduction. Finally Lady Furness’ cod was also very good, being served on creamed mash potato, savoy cabbage, baked apple and smoked bacon in a cider butter sauce.
We were then offered the dessert menu along with another lengthy and well memorised list of specials from what appeared to be the youngest of all the waitresses. Sadly with no room for any more food we declined and settled up. This is an extremely good restaurant, run by an experienced family team at the top of their game which was clearly evident from the high quality service we experienced all night. Add to this some very excellent food from John the chef and it really is a winning combination and well worth the 12 year wait!
Type: High end restaurant
Service: 9.5/10 excellent from start to finish
Atmosphere: 9/10 a good buzz in a quirky shaped modern dining room
Food: 9/10 Top quality with well thought out flavours and combinations
Value for money: 8/10 at £40 per person for 2 courses and drinks, not cheap but you get what you pay for
Overall: 9 A very good meal enjoyed by all.
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.