We’ll keep this one unusually but, I imagine, mercifully to-the-point because somebody – an actual proper critic – also visited Oktopus recently and beat me to writing some nice stuff about it.
To her smashing words I will add, however, that if you’re looking for good beers, eclectic wines and a distressingly hungover train journey home the next morning, get yourself to the excellent Buyer’s Club next-door for pre- and/or post-scran drinks.
Other than that: pretty much what she said.
There’s good bread to be had in Liverpool. These slabs came with a butter as malty as a spreadable stout. (£3.20.)
In blogging parlance it’d be the done thing to liken these ‘popcorn mussels’ to crack cocaine. However, I’ve lived a sheltered life so we’ll settle for the sedate “very moreish” to describe this heap of crisped up bivalves and the aromatically ace “Raz ketchup” that they arrive doused in. 4 quid.
Tunnels of braised leek have a minerally, mild oniony waft of Grandma’s kitchen if Grandma had known how to cook. With a smattering of school-dinner peas it’s practically #cleaneating this, if it weren’t for those dastardly flecks of feta adding their salty goodness. (£6.50.)
Three sardines, crozzled of skin, are next to land with a charred lime mayo and pickled chillies. Cracking stuff, with flavours and textures knocking about all over the plate, here. Seven exciting pounds worth.
I could’ve had the Barnsley lamb chop a tad more pink, but it was, as Jamie says in every episode of every programme he makes, still “blushing”, and was a belting piece of meat. There must’ve been a courgette glut on Merseyside because here it is again, doing not very much, but there’s more of those fresh garden peas too so all’s well. (£13.)
We had good cheese, and if I knew where it was from, what it was called – all that guff – I’d pass the info on, but our pleasantly down-to-business waitress didn’t know, so neither did we, and there’s a large chunk of me that finds that immensely pleasing. I mean, who can ever remember those details anyway? And, more pertinently, who’s arsed?
Simple plating of good things, a no-faff menu, rackety canteen atmosphere. Top stuff.