I don’t get over to Liverpool as often as I want to – so when I do, it always reminds me why I should go more often. Salthouse Bacaro is one of the reasons why I should go more often.
Specialising in Italian cichetti (tapas), and twists on these dishes, it’s no wonder I wasn’t short of date offers when I asked for someone to come with me – and given just how busy it was on a random Monday in April, it’s clear I’m not the only person who is rather fond of it.
It also has a ‘Campari Bar’ meaning that those of us who are rather fond of a Negroni, and variations thereof, can indulge in that particular drink, yes even on a Monday. Negroni Mondays is now a thing.
When it comes to the food, it’s genuinely hard to choose – I leaned heavily on my date’s previous visits, and the experience of our server. As you’d expect, the staff all have their favourites and soon the menu was dotted with circles and notes of recommendation.
The first dishes were easy selections. Pancetta croquettes and arancini. When it comes to the latter, I’m a bit of an addict, and these rich, but creamy nutty balls of rice were distinctively moreish (and at £1.50 each pretty dangerous). The same with the croquettes – creamy rich bechamel, studded with slices of salty pancetta in a crunchy deep fried crumb. What’s not to love? They’re the kind of thing you could order as a snack to keep you going, or as we did, as part of a larger meal.
The beef carpaccio was a recommendation of both parties, and it’s easy to see why. Soft, tender, rare beef, anchovy creme,
marrow croutons, and parmesan crisps. Contrasts of texture, lots of rich umami flavours and yet still light.
For our next dish, we went for something new – the buttermilk chicken Milanese with maccaroni and ndjua cheese sauce. Think spicy mac and cheese on top of a crispy coated, juicy piece of chicken.
It’s good. A little Americanisation of an Italian dish perhaps, but it loses nothing for all that, it still has my mouth watering with remembrance as I write this, wondering how soon I can hop a train back for some more.
Our final savoury dish was a lesson in balance. Burrata mozzarella, salsa rossa, guacamole and crostini. Rich creamy burrata, gently spicy, chilli sauce on top, creamy fresh guacamole on the bottom. Nothing overpowered, nothing dominated, each worked with the other to mean that we cleaned that plate of every morsel.
The dessert selection too proved a challenge, but in the end a little something to share won out. Vanilla panna cotta, served with a rhubarb ‘crumble’ – gently poached rhubarb and crunchy crumble topping, providing great contrast. Just something a little sweet to finish off our evening, but not too much that we felt over full and uncomfortable.
My mum always said ‘little pickers have bigger knickers’ – in my case, that’s certainly true. And when the food is like this, I really don’t mind.
Until next time Liverpol.
This meal and accompanying drinks were supplied for free by Salthouse Bacaro in Liverpool. As ever, this doesn’t guarantee a positive review (if anything, I tend to be a harsher critic).
Good consistent food, great quality, great service – all of which was evident from our own experience and that observed with other diners. I’ll be back again.