Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Hanover Street Social, Liverpool

Liverpool gave me the runaround this time last week, or rather, I gave myself the runaround in Liverpool. I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to eat, so long as it was good.

A vague inkling that Asian and spicy might be the way to go led me to the Maharajah, but the enormous void of the restaurant with just two couples hiding away in one corner felt too dispiriting for a solo dining session. I walked in through the door and straight back out again.

Where next, I thought? How about that Japanese place that gets consistently good reviews? A bowl of noodles wouldn't go amiss. So I traipsed across town to Etsu, only to find the reverse situation.They were so busy they couldn't fit me in. At least the traipse across town was a fine one;- Liverpool is really growing on me so I need to spend more time there (and less time on Knowsley Industrial Estate, chance would be a fine thing).

By this stage I was getting weary, I'd been up since five thirty that morning and was craving sustenance, so I gave up on Asian food and ended up in the vicinity of Liverpool One. If all else failed there'd be Salt House or Lunya.

I chanced on Hanover Street Social and remembered reading that it was run by the people behind Salt House Tapas, which seemed like as good an endorsement as any for a quality operation.

Sadly it didn't really turn out that way. It wasn't so much bad, as just a bit slack. I suspect this is a quality operation, but it was as if the B team were on duty for the Tuesday night lull and either couldn't really be bothered or weren't quite up to it.

The good bit first: tiger prawns and Colchester oysters can be had for just £1.25 or £1.50 each (a bit less for the half or dozen), so I had a couple of each. The oysters were spot on; bright, saline and creamy. Properly shucked too so as not to lose the juices. The prawns were also sweet and fresh if a touch overcooked, but went down a treat with very well made aioli and house ketchup.

The cheeseburger, offered cooked medium or well, was where it all went wrong. The burger itself had been overcooked into pointlessness, several stages past medium. It was dry, mealy and not really worth the effort. Why not send it back, you might ask. Well, sometimes I just can't be bothered with the hassle. I'm sure they'd have replaced it with something better without question, but sometimes when you've had a long day the extra ten minutes of time and effort doesn't seem worth it. Get the calories, cut your losses and leave.

Everything served with the burger was what brought to mind the description 'a bit slack'. All of it was perfectly edible but didn't inspire much enthusiasm. Limp fries, tasteless onion rings, catering pack relish and a big pile of undressed rocket. Ho hum.

As I've said I made no complaint, I ate most of the burger to fill myself up before bedtime, not that anyone actually went so far as asking me if everything was ok. I didn't really mind, it saved me the bother of replying 'fine thanks'. Other than that service was perfectly amenable.

Prices are reasonable for this sort of thing, or at least would be if the thing in question were done well. I paid just over twenty quid for the two courses and a glass of wine. I'm sure there's a quality operation lurking here somewhere, and perhaps on another day I'd have found everything wonderful, but a burger meal that was wrong in pretty much every way suggests something's not quite right.


16-20 Hanover Street
L1 4AA

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