Allerton Road, Liverpool
Review by Lawrence Saunders
Promising a touch of class, Allerton Road’s upmarket French eatery Verdant set tongues wagging across South Liverpool in the first few months since its opening.
Taking up the space vacated by Canvas Restaurant and Cocktail Lounge, Verdant certainly looked the part when my date and I arrived on an icy Saturday evening. Living up to its lofty aspirations aesthetics-wise is one thing, but what about the food? Was it all style and no substance?
Scanning the menu in search of an appetiser, my eyes were instantly drawn to two standout ingredients – truffle and caviar. Being somewhat of a philistine when it comes to haute cuisine I’ll admit to never having sampled either so I was anxious to give them both a try.
After a period of deliberation with my date, it was decided I was to order the Cauliflower Velouté (£7), served with spiced tempura cauliflower, Lancashire quail egg and foraged black truffle, whilst my partner had the Salmon Verdant (£7) which came with hot smoked pâté, caviar and Wirral herbs.
The velouté, which I later learned is the French term for a soup thickened with egg yolks, butter and cream, was delicious but it was the inclusion of the truffle shavings combined with the crispy vegetables which lifted this dish out of the ordinary.
My partner’s starter was another unqualified success, with our first experience of the unique taste of caviar proving most enjoyable.
After a show-stopping set of appetisers, the pressure was on the kitchen to serve up an equally knockout pair of mains. Thankfully they didn’t disappoint.
Now, without wanting to come over all corny, my Pork and Apple (£14) – belly pork served with potato boulangere, vegetables and an apple puree – was genuinely one of the best plates of food I’ve ever eaten.
For someone who has always avoided crackling like the plague for fear of an expensive trip to the dentist, I was a touch apprehensive before tucking into my generous belly cut but I needn’t have been. The thin and crispy crackling was the highlight of the dish, perfectly complementing the juicy pork strip.
My dining partner was equally as enthralled with her main – the Cheshire Lamb (£16), served with lamb fat fondant and a marrow jus. The rump was just the right shade of pink and offered the perfect remedy for a freezing winter’s night.
Time for dessert and my confidante’s Sticky Toffee Pudding (£7) with Iranian bejewelled dates and butterscotch sauce kept the hearty theme going with some contemporary touches helping to elevate this teatime classic.
I plumped for the Hot Chocolate Bomb (£7) served with fondant, berries, French cream and chocolate ice cream. The indulgent sweet proved the perfect bookend for the evening without being too heavy going.
2017 may still be in its infancy but Liverpool’s eateries have some way to go if they plan on dislodging Verdant from the top of the pile in my book. Simply superb, this restaurant lived up to the hype and then some.