Monday, 3 September 2012

Lunya, Liverpool

As a little warm-up for my impending holiday in Spain I thought I'd have a little tapas session while I was in Liverpool last week. The city is blessed in this regard, being home to both Lunya and Salt House, the pair just a stone's throw apart on the edges of the Liverpool One development.

Last time around I chose Salt House, primarily as the menu at Lunya was a little overbearing. Multiple pages describing a great many things in some detail. The menu is still comprehensive but has thankfully slimmed down to a more manageable single page crammed full of goodies.

Having eaten there I understand the rationale behind the extensive menu. Lunya is also a deli and importer of Spanish and Catalan foods, and the long list is clearly borne from a desire to show off the marvellous ingredients rather than any tendency to overcomplicate. This was evident in bowl of gordal olives stuffed with orange and chilli flakes, which were as good as any olives I've eaten anywhere, ever. The only ones I think come close are the gordal olives from Brindisa.

A glass of manzanilla, which took an age to arrive, was fantastic with the olives and well worth the wait. Tinder dry and a bit salty, but somehow cool and refreshing with it.

Catalan fish stew, or sarsuela, was simple but delicious. The thin, savoury saffron spiked broth was brimming with good quality, plump mussels and prawns and several chunks of what I think might have been red mullet.

Pear, rocket and valdeon cheese salad was enormous, and all about the cheese really. The ripeness of the blue dominated the flavour but not in a bad way. It was smooth and sweet rather than bitter, and the whole had a pleasing texture from the freshness of the leaves and added crumbled walnuts.

The only duff note of the night were the ham croquetas. Nothing wrong with the taste but they'd either not been fried for long enough or dunked in oil that wasn't hot enough (I'd guess the latter) rendering them a touch heavy and rather greasy.

Bread was a fine example of the usual Spanish stuff. It can seem a bit heavy at first, lacking the finesse of a French loaf, until you realise the denser texture is perfect for soaking up whatever delicious juices happen to be swimming around your various dishes asking to be devoured. In this case it became the vehicle for a good half bowlful of lovely fishy stuff. Splendid.

Save for the drinks being very slow to arrive, and the oil for the bread never arriving at all (though I didn't really miss it) service was excellent. The food arrived quickly and the guy serving me knew the menu well and was happy to offer recommendations.

It's also very good value here. Offers are available on every week night, on Wednesday it was any five tapas for a fixed price dependent on when you order, £18 before 6, £19 before 7 and so forth. As a result before service I paid £20 for the food and £4.25 for a generous 125ml measure of sherry. Full prices are still more than fair, with olives cheaper and far better than other places nearby (Jamie's Italian to pick an example at random) and an almost main portion sized fish stew chock-full of seafood costing only £6.95. Well worth a visit.

Roll on Friday when I'll be heading south for more of the same.


18-20 College Lane
L1 3DS

Lunya on Urbanspoon

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