Megan Walsh gets a taste for this new French fancy
Paris 1968; a time the city was gripped in the midst of protests and civil revolt against the country’s political leaders. Students took to the streets to fight for their beliefs, in what is regarded as one of the most important political moments in French history.
Come here, if only for the camembert. Fine French cheese is one of life’s gifts
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? And as the UK teeters further into political turmoil, perhaps it’s no wonder why Polidor 68, South Liverpool’s newest French gem, has garnered quite the following since opening its doors last December.
The concept is a serendipitous coincidence and the latest venture from owner of neighbouring Love & Rockets, who wanted to bring a little bit of Paris to Liverpool’s most bohemian lane.
I’m a curious diner, so I’d perused the menu days before our visit one spring Sunday afternoon. I’d been looking forward to an afternoon of grazing my way through several small plates, so was disappointed to discover we could only choose from the significantly smaller breakfast and lunch menu. I’m not one for breakfast at 4pm, but the lunch menu was perfectly adequate with a decent selection of sandwiches, deli boards and plats de jour.
Still, we were slightly panicked by the news of no small plates, so we ordered a bowl of fried gnocchi with harissa (£4) while we gave the menu some mulling over. An inoffensive offering, but not quite the smokey nuggets of potato I’d had in mind. I wouldn’t be in a rush to order them again.
‘La beatué est dans la rue’, you’ll see on the walls in here. It means ‘the beauty is in the streets’ – but I think the beauty of this place, and its raison d’etre, lies within its camembert. Oh, the camembert (£6). Come here, if only for the camembert. Fine French cheese is one of life’s gifts – especially if it’s paired with an even finer bottle of Courtesan Riesling (£26).
Topped with a drizzle of balsamic, sriracha and a generous handful of granola – it might sound strange but my God, it works. Inside the rind was gooey and garlicky, which was the perfect juxtaposition to the subtle sweetness of the granola. We eagerly scooped it up with sizeable slabs of Baltic Bakehouse’s unrivalled sourdough and savoured every morsel of this ultimate sharing starter.
I was more than impressed with my chicken and avocado salad (£10). One might say you can’t go wrong with a dish like this, but you’d be surprised at how many times I’ve been served a shy portion of avocado atop a lacklustre mound of leaves. Not here though. Crispy gem topped with plump pieces of chicken and enough avocado for me to not get jealous of my date’s quintessential bistro dish of steak and skin-on fries (£14). With just enough room for a dessert to share, we finished with a rhubarb syllabub (£4), which was as much of a treat for the eyes as it was for the palate.
We came here for lunch, but it’s in the evening when this bistro really comes alive – and I’m not just referring to the small plates.
When the sun goes down, the place is transformed into a dimly-lit speakeasy where friends and lovers come to dwell. Live jazz performers croon in the background every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and just like that – it’s 1968 Paris and there’s a revolution on the horizon.
The beauty certainly IS in the streets (and the cheese.) But for Liverpool at least, whatever Britain's political future might be, the beauty is on the lane. You just need to get in on the action.
Polidor 68, 89 Lark Ln, Liverpool L17 8UP
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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.
Gnocchi 3, Camembert 9, chicken salad 9, steak 8, syllabub 8
Chic and cheerful
Simple and sophisticated, as all French eateries should be