It was Saturday evening and having passed The Monro restaurant almost every day and occasionally reviewing the menu, I’d never actually visited the place. Living in the centre of Liverpool you come across many new places opening up, offers to take advantage of and reviews of where’s good to eat. The Monro had come up time and time again and I thought it was about time I saw what all the fuss was about.
I decided to book the table on the Tuesday prior to the weekend as I thought it would be fully booked for Saturday night and this was no hassle at all. I chose the time, they took the booking and it was done, no negotiations on availability whatsoever which is always a bonus!
As soon as we arrived the host was on duty and acknowledged us, which certainly helps as the last thing you want is to look like a pair of sardines trying to get fed! We entered through the pub area and the host took us straight through to the restaurant, which visually didn’t disappoint. It was homely, comfortable, warm and enough space to feel like you weren’t dining with strangers.
I’d had a brief look at the menu over the week leading up to the meal and none of the starters had stood out, especially not in terms of value for money anyway. I can’t understand how these places can justify charging £4.50 for some bread, olives and oil. The ‘hand-dived scallops’ would have been a nice treat but again, £12 just seemed too much when you could quite easily cook something similar at home for a fraction of the price.
We decided on a lovely bottle of Chilean Merlot to accompany our mains. I went for the ‘3-way Lamb’ which was lamb cooked in three different ways, served with fondant potatoes, pea puree and a port jus. The description alone was enough to make me say yes. My girlfriend went for the ‘Pan-fried Duck Breast’ served with mini pancakes, a crispy quack egg and a summer berry reduction.
The lamb was cooked perfectly and I wanted to savour every mouthful. It was not only presented beautifully but had the taste and seasonal flavourings to back it up. I love getting food that almost makes you sad when you’ve finished and can’t take another bite!
The duck had mixed reviews. It was slightly overcooked and Anna had to swap to a sharper knife to cut through it. The reduction was a perfect accompaniment to the duck however neither of us could really understand why the dish was served with pancakes and a crispy egg, especially when the yolk seeped through and didn’t mix well with the reduction. It just seemed like they were trying to be different for the sake of it.
The dessert menu wasn’t as exciting as I’d hoped for. Normally I’d go for a starter or a dessert when out and after the disappointment with the starters, I was hoping the pudding choices would restore my faith in the menu. Sadly this wasn’t the case, the choice was limited. I decided to go for the ‘Apple & Walnut Rollover’ which was served with Cheshire Farm Vanilla Ice Cream (a real favourite of mine!).
It arrived with a very conservative portion of the ice cream and when I used the spoon to cut into the rollover I actually had trouble (and I’m a fairly strong guy!). After finally cutting into it, I found it was so chewy and actually difficult to eat. I asked Anna for her opinion and she couldn’t eat it. Thankfully the waiter made no qualms about taking it away from the table and when he returned, he told us that he tried it and agreed with our opinion, a real disappointment for such a highly rated place.
Overall the atmosphere was perfect and the service was excellent however the food was a mixed bag. The lamb was perfect, the duck overcooked and one of the desserts inedible, which is not something that should happen. I’d probably return but only for a main.