Exchange Street East, Liverpool
Review by Hannah Fowler
With two established restaurants in Heswall and Chester, Barton Rouge is no stranger in the North West.
Its recent opening on Exchange Street East marks the Indian restaurant’s first foray into Liverpool, bringing the introduction of Old Delhi style street food and a lunchtime menu to cater for the business district’s hungry workforce.
But arriving after work on a Thursday evening, my dining partner and I were here to review the dinner offering – a menu which will please old school curry fanatics as well as those who want to explore new flavours.
We were warmly welcomed by the owner and restaurant manager, who guided us through the menu with his excellent recommendations and food knowledge.
To start we ordered a mini basket of papadums (£2) with dips (£1.75), which was the perfect appetiser to snack on before our starters and mains.
I then opted for the crispy fried prawns (£4.95) which was one of my favourite dishes of the evening. Cooked until golden brown in a crispy batter, the prawns were succulent and tender and teamed perfectly with the spicy dipping sauce.
After to-ing and fro-ing between the chicken lollipop (£3.95) and Seekh kebab (£3.95), my guest chose the kebab which didn’t disappoint. Packed with aromatic spices, the lamb was full of flavour while the mixed salad added a freshness to the dish.
Our indecisiveness prompted a taste of the chicken lollipop starter too, and it’s said to be one of Barton Rouge’s most popular dishes. The deep fried chicken was marinated in delicate spices which you could add more heat to when paired with the spicy tomato dip.
Next up was the main event – the curries. Preferring milder flavours, my dinner guest picked the tandoori butter chicken (£9.95). Lack of spice did not mean lack of flavour, and this curry was rich, creamy and authentic.
I selected the curry which was listed as a ‘must try’ for lamb lovers – the lamb pepper fry (£10.95). The medium spiced dish came with big chunks of tender lamb marinated in a peppery tomato sauce and definitely had a kick of spice. With the saffron pilau rice (£2.50) and chapatti (£1.50), it went down a treat.
In my house it’s not a proper curry night without chips (£2), so we ordered some for good measure.
With both of our mains, and in fact every dish made, you could tell that each was freshly cooked to order and prepared lovingly.
The food presentation, décor and ambiance gave the Indian cuisine a contemporary edge you don’t normally expect from your standard curry house. The hospitality was flawless and I’m sure any kind of celebration here would be one to remember.
As someone who usually tucks into a curry from the comfort of their couch on a Friday night, Barton Rouge was such an enjoyable experience. They’ve managed to elevate well-loved Indian classics and create a fine dining experience which is just as welcoming as your sofa.
As the UK’s adopted ‘national dish’, the curry is given an upmarket revival at Barton Rouge which I’m sure Scousers will love.