Ebony Ashcroft discovers Bootle’s secret rooftop haven
Write down everything you consider when picking a restaurant, roll it up and put it in the bin because this place will twist your expectations harder than you twisted "Bop It" as a kid. Proving you can’t judge a book (or borough) by its cover, 14 Bar & Grill on Trinity Road is Bootle’s secret rooftop haven.
American, French, Mediterranean, Italian, and Japanese all in one place? Just pick one and do it well
Potentially the most covert restaurant in the city, you wouldn’t know it until you fell over it - literally. A stone's throw away from Oriel station, I spent a few minutes staring at Maps, circling the streets like some kind of Scouse shark hunting its prey. Eventually, I located the restaurant on the top floor of a very nondescript apartment tower. It is exactly as weird as it sounds.
The restaurant is eye-catching if you ignore the lack of signage at ground level. A neon sign proudly displays “Welcome to Bootle”, adjacent to the number 14 that illuminates your transformative journey upstairs.
The restaurant's design intelligently reflects the area’s 1950s industrialisation, with a sprinkle of modern suburban spirit. Floor-to-ceiling glass windows provide an unobstructed panoramic view that spans from Anfield stadium to the Albert Dock.
You can even stretch your legs on the outdoor terrace and dine alfresco, weather permitting. The exterior gives an impeccable “I’m on a yacht” vibe - like seriously, there’s a pool. (Alexa, play Boats N’ Hoes). This location would be dreamy for a private event. Honestly, who needs the Bahamas? Just look at that sunset.
The staff are approachable, chatty locals, and as attentive as they come. The team confesses to being understaffed but you would never know. The service is fluid and diners are routinely looked after. The crowd resembles Liverpool at its most authentic; locals in their finest garments, sitting beside lads that are blatant carbon copies of a JD mannequin.
The overwhelming atmosphere amidst this Merseyside motley crew is relaxed, fun, and friendly. You can understand why visitors fall in love with this city. (Samuel L. Jackson loves Liverpool - seriously, Google it).
Examining the menu, it appears to be a mixed lucky bag of everything I would want after a drink or two. I support hybridity when it comes to food but a lack of focus has me waving red flags and ringing alarm bells - American, French, Mediterranean, Italian, and Japanese all in one place? Just pick one thing and do it well.
The evening begins with cocktails; a recommended strawberry daiquiri (£10) plus a rhubarb gin and tonic (£9). An obtuse markup for somewhere that doesn’t appear to have a designated mixologist, but the servings are generous and pretty.
This is followed by a bottle of Chilean Sauvignon (£19) to chaperone the food; a restaurant-standard price for an awfully average bottle of wine.
Whilst trying to decipher this treasure map of a menu, the hostess explains that the most commercial method is to mix courses with sushi as a snack. I'm not going to argue.
The starter of scallops (£11) is pillowy and silky. These hearty, buttery mouthfuls are contrasted by the fresh tuna tartare (£8.75). The tuna is seasoned immaculately, set atop ripe avocado, doused with lime, coriander, and micro herbs. The sesame crisps are the final textural piece of the puzzle. I’d come back just for this.
As for sushi, we settle on teriyaki beef (£7) and the vegetable dragon roll (£6). The latter is the only vegan choice on the menu - this place must have missed the “catering to a plant-based diet” lecture at the start of term. However, I am a big sushi fan and this does not disappoint. The chopsticks are branded too, which is a satisfying detail.
From pasta to pastry, everything is made in-house. An admirable practice from a kitchen run by three professional sushi chefs. The homemade mushroom ravioli with truffle cream (£12) is undeniably moreish. The fillet of salmon (£14) is another knockout; every element was perfectly cooked, and the potato gratin is to die for.
The stomach-buckling final hurdle is the dessert platter (£18). With no written description we just have to put their Great British Bake Off illustrations to the test.
The assortment contains the power to satiate any sweet tooth; lemon meringue pie, brownies, white chocolate and lemon (smartly masquerading as egg and soldiers), to name a few. The presentation is meticulous, forgoing any pretentious undertones, and every bite is sublime.
14 Bar & Grill launched mid-2019, and I’m so glad they survived the pandemic to be here today. Refined restaurant culture trickling through suburban areas gives the community much-needed options beyond pubs and takeaways. This is the essential catalyst for like-minded businesses that are willing to take risks. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.
All scored reviews are unannounced, impartial, paid for by Confidential and completely independent of any commercial relationship. Venues are rated against the best examples of their type: 1-5: saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9: Netflix and chill, 10-11: if you’re passing, 12-13: good, 14-15: very good, 16-17: excellent, 18-19: pure class, 20: cooked by God him/herself.
Scallops 7, tuna tartare 8, beef sushi 7, veggie sushi 6, mushroom ravioli 6, salmon fillet 7, dessert tower 6.5
Down to earth, welcoming, well-organised and not afraid to say it like it is.
Ideally spacious and impressively conceptualised, this is an innovative, industrial hotspot overlooking the city.