This weekend saw Classic (the mother-in-law) taking our two lads, Fidget and Shy, to Chester so Red (the wife) and I planned a bit of a weekend consisting of breakfast at Annie’s Tea Rooms, a film, staying over at the Titanic Hotel Liverpool (courtesy of Classic) with cocktails and ending the whole shebang with dinner at the Hanover Street Social (HSS) with our friends Lady Furness and Vincenzo. What romantics we are!
“Exemplary prompt and efficient service was to be a feature throughout the meal”
We had some excellent cocktails at the Titanic Hotel then headed off to the HSS. So it was a very jolly foursome that entered the large dining room of the Hanover Street Social, one of a series of restaurants occupying a vibrant area of the city. We were greeted swiftly and pleasantly by one of the serving staff who had us seated in no time. This exemplary prompt and efficient service was to be a feature throughout the meal and is a lesson many other restaurants in the Liverpool area could well do with learning. Drinks orders where then taken by another waiter and delivered quickly: Vincenzo and I taking the draught Estrella and the ladies opting for cosmopolitan cocktails.
“On their own they had a light delicateness with the lace-like batter coating but combined with the sauce that accompanied them they were, as the late great Michael Winner might say – historic!”
The menu is a relatively small but simple selection of four or five items under the various sections: grill, fish, roast, pasta and vegetarian. To start we had Gordal olives (which Vincenzo (a genuine olive expert) described as being as good as any he has tasted, Libbie’s Sourdough bread and butter (very good) and we decided to share 3 small plates (£12) of baby chorizo sausages with honey, chargrilled flatbread with hummus and courgette shoestring fries. I have to admit that, as a raging carnivore, I was somewhat saddened by our overly veggie choices here but did not wish to be contrary in polite company. How wrong I was! Yes the chorizo and honey were very good – a classic combo of sweetness and chili, the flatbread and hummus were also great with the hummus containing a deep smoky flavour. However, it was the courgette which stole the starter show (I really never thought that would be a sentence I would ever write!). On their own they had a light delicateness with the lace-like batter coating but combined with the sauce that accompanied them they were, as the late great Michael Winner might say – historic! I am struggling to describe the delicious, sweet and yet spicy, deep yet light flavours it provided. In short they were divine.
“Vincenzo waxed lyrical about his lasagne giving it 9.5/10 and describing it as the best he has had here or in Italy”
On to the mains and the ladies went for beef medallions in a red wine jus with celeriac rosti (£19.95), Vincenzo took the vegetarian lasagne (cannot recall the price) and I had the slow roasted belly pork, Stornoway black pudding, creamed kale, apple and ginger puree and sage jus (£13.95). We paired our mains with an excellent Carmen pinot noir reserva (£19.95). The ladies agreed that their beef was very good, well cooked and well balanced, though Lady Furness said it was not quite up to the beef shin from Albion restaurant in Crosby (though that is an exceptionally high standard to compare it to and of course a different cut).
Vincenzo waxed lyrical about his lasagne giving it 9.5/10 and describing it as the best he has had here or in Italy – packed with flavour, maintaining its structure and well seasoned. Finally my dish, the belly pork, was extremely good. An often tricky dish to do well this had it all from the salty crisp crackling, well rendered fat and moist central meat. The creamed kale could have been a dish on its own but worked very well with the black pudding which was light and not overpowering. All this was complemented in the mouth by the apple and ginger puree which was very good but did leave the sage jus a little anonymous. Overall, however, a very well constructed dish.
“Service was attentive, prompt, friendly but not overbearing”
As we asked for the bill (£136 for 4) we reflected on the meal and were all in agreement that the food was excellent across the board but beyond the food we were even more impressed by the quality of service. I am not sure what systems they use for coordinating their waiting on staff at the HSS but it works. This was not just a happy coincidence with one waiter, as we were served by about 4 or 5 at different times. This is a place that has service down to a tee. At no point did we have any of that awkward trying to catch someone’s eye. They were on top of their game: working the floor, preempting any issues and doing it all with a smile and genuine warmth: attentive, prompt, friendly but not overbearing. Well done!
Type: High end restaurant
- Service: 10/10 as good as it gets, anywhere!
- Atmosphere: 9/10 a large busy dining room with plenty going on.
- Food: 9/10 Highlight was the courgette starter.
- Value for money: 8/10 not cheap but worth that little bit extra.
- Overall: 9 Exceptional service, excellent food and great wine.
Website: Hanover Street Social