Allerton Road, Liverpool
Review by Natasha Young
Like many I’m sure, my response to 2018’s arrival has been to cut back on the indulgences I enjoyed throughout December, kick the booze for a month and start the year with good intentions of saving cash, eating healthily and keeping fit.
Fully aware that I’ll require lots of creative thinking and a bucket load of motivation if I’m to keep this ‘new year, new me’ strategy interesting enough to stick to, it was music to my ears that a new restaurant has opened in Liverpool promising healthy dishes packed with nutrition and flavour.
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My dinner date and I made a special journey to the ever growing foodie hotspot that is Allerton Road to liven up our postfestive lull, and on arrival we found 109 Allerton to be a contemporary, relaxing haven from the bitterly cold outdoors. It definitely looks the part for its trendy South Liverpool location.
But what about the menu? Equipped with a pair of thirst-quenching soft drinks – San Pellegrino Aranciata (£1.85) in particular – we scoured the varied ‘dinner’ offering, served from 4-9pm each day.
With much talked about health ingredients littered across a diverse selection of fresh sounding dishes, which ranged from flatbreads to jambalaya and bowl food, the eatery certainly seemed to be living up to its promise on first impression of providing tasty food that’s good for you.
We picked starters from the ‘small plates’ section, which includes a range of options suiting vegetarian, vegan and gluten free requirements. I chose the garlic mushrooms on sourdough and rocket (£5.95) while my dining partner picked the colourful grilled halloumi salad served with pomegranate, soy beans, chilli and sweet potato (£6.95).
Both were generously sized for a first course and my mushrooms were a real delight. They’d absorbed an abundance of garlicky flavour and came without the heavy breadcrumb coating I’d come to expect from garlic mushrooms, making for a lighter, more enjoyable dish.
For the main course, which had proven to be a tough choice, my partner settled on the aubergine stack (£8.95) – layers of aubergine stuffed with mushroom, spinach, sundried tomato, lentils, garlic and fresh mozzarella. After consulting with our attentive server on portion sizes, he added sweet potato wedges (£2.95) for good measure. It turned out to be a spot on decision as he found the meal to be an ideal portion.
Perhaps slightly more expensive than expected for a vegetable focused dish where a side order was required, the aubergine stack was nevertheless beautifully presented and delicious.
I decided to customise my own 109 Superfood Bowl (£9.95), which allows you to choose two ‘greens’, two ‘colours’, two ‘seeds, nuts or berries’, one ‘carb’, one ‘cheese’ and a dressing from a list of ingredients. The concept is perfect for indecisive diners like me.
My bowl consisted of kale, asparagus, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sweet potato, crispy chicken and halloumi in a sesame and soy dressing, and what a hefty feast it was! I enjoyed the concoction of fresh vegetables and crunchy seeds along with halloumi prepared to perfection and made my way through the filling food bowl, embracing the mix of flavours and textures. The crispy chicken, however, came in a trio of chunky pieces on top of the dish which were perhaps a little too large, heavy and somewhat dry for my taste.
We rounded off the evening by sharing three scoops of sorbet (£4.95) – one mango, one lemon and one raspberry – and my other half enjoyed a raspberry and mint loose leaf tea (£2.40) on the side.
Light and fruity with just the right amount of sweetness, the palate-cleansing dessert was a refreshing way to round off a meal which my partner and I agreed was perfect for a new year detox without compromising satisfaction. Plenty of colour, texture and flavour packed our dishes, which were picked from an appealing menu.