One of the great advantages of going on holidays to the Lake District this year with the car was that it left us with the opportunity to go anywhere we wanted to. So we decided to pay Liverpool a visit. We had been to Liverpool once before and it struck a cord with us. It is a lively, culture filled city with a beautiful shopping area and a thriving food culture. It is also only an hour and a half away from the Lake District and a 40 minute flight from Ireland. If you have never been and are looking for a easy weekend away I would say check it out you will be pleasantly surprised.
So early one drizzly morning we hopped in the car and drove down. We spent a wonderful morning trawling through the shopping district in Liverpool One and then down to the vintage stores on Bold Street. This was all part of a well executed plan because the one place we really wanted to eat at was on that street too! Before I went away I had asked Liverpool Food and Drink Festival on Twitter if they had any places they could recommend. They very kindly came back to me with a whole list of different options including Mexican, Indian, Bistro and American. After much deliberation with the boyfriend we settled on Nolita Cantina having been very much swayed by the inclusion of baby corn dogs on the menu!
Nolita Cantina is a relaxed, informal restaurant which serves American style food and I knew immediately it was my sort of place when I heard them play HAIM as part of their playlist! We started off our meal by choosing a pitcher of iced tea. It was properly homemade and very refreshing.
Then for starters we decided on a sharing platter as we just wanted to try everything. This came with a selection of chilli cob, baby corn dogs, onion rings and spicy chicken wings. It also came with frickles, which are deep fried dill pickles and which I had never come across before. They also had hush puppies which are small savoury doughnuts made from corn meal, beer & cheese and which I can't find anymore in Ireland. It was a great choice and really covered quite a lot of the choices on the starter menu.
The boyfriend also decided at the last minute that he wanted to try a plate of burnt ends so that also arrived at our table. The burnt ends are those pieces of meat that are probably a bit too charred to put into the main meals but which are delicious as a snack.
Then it was onto the main course and we had absolutely no idea what was in store for us! We had gone for Nolita Cantina's lunch deal where you can get any sandwich and bottomless fries for six pounds. We just assumed that they would be normal sized sandwiches. We were very very wrong!! What arrived at the table were sandwiches packed full of layers and spilling out from under the bread. My deli sandwich was the hand carved beef rump pastrami with lightly grilled swiss cheese, chipotle mayonnaise & pickle. The boyfriend went for the pulled pork with lightly grilled monterey jack cheese and chipotle mayonnaise. I have never been to NYC but I can imagine this is exactly what people mean when they talk about the proper deli sandwiches! Both of the sandwiches were just packed full of flavour and the cheese had been slightly melted which brought all the ingredients together.
|Hand carved beef rump pastrami|
|Pulled Pork Sandwich|
The sandwiches were accompanied by a basket full of sweet potato and normal fries which I thought was a nice touch as it provided a bit of colour and a variety of flavours. I actually prefer sweet potato fries as well so it was nice not having to order them separately.
So could we eat it all?? In short no and I think it was actually the first time I have ever seen the boyfriend beaten by food!! In hindsight we ordered too much but that would be nothing new for us especially when it is our first visit to a place. We also weren't expecting the sheer size of the sandwich as I have never really come across food like that in Dublin. In fairness though if we went back we would probably do it all over again as food like this is hard to come by! As it says on their website Nolita Cantina was born out of the mutual passion of two chefs looking to satisfy their appreciation and longing for traditional, homemade American style food. Well I definitely think they have succeeded in that and also with introducing what real American food should be like to people who visit here