Becky Fry gets a side order of nostalgia alongside her fried chicken and Rainy Day Fries
LEADING Liverpool bar and restaurant group Graffiti Spirits would be well within their rights to have a bit of time out this year. Fresh off the back of a somewhat hectic 2019 - including another successful year of Miracle on Seel Street, opening the enormous (and so far big-hitting) Duke Street Market and re-launching Slim’s as an American-style diner on Bold Street - they’ve now gone one further and created their own arcade.
The chicken is much less greasy and markedly better tasting than the high-street stuff
From the front, Super Megabite doesn’t look nearly as attractive a prospect as its former restaurant tenant did. A small front space lit with harsh fluorescent lights features two school canteen-style benches and not a lot else. With a humming drinks fridge to one side and a solitary staff member manning the desk on the other, it wouldn’t look out of place plonked between Botan Kebab and Mr Chips. That, by the way, is not an insult; I just mean perfect when the late-night munchies hit.
I’ve learnt by now of course that you should never judge a book by its cover, a restaurant by its social media or, in this case, a bar by its front window. Sure, just get a takeaway or a delivery if you want, but like one of those old-fashioned video shops, the - um - fun stuff at Super Megabite is hidden behind a black curtain at the back, and it’s more than worth making the time for.
The downstairs space is a narrow labyrinth of wall-to-wall arcade games, and they have all the big’uns, including Tetris, Street Fighter and Space Invaders, so it’s the perfect opportunity to relive your youth or pretend you’re the newest member of the Stranger Things gang. With all the machines free to play as part of a January offer, we managed to work our way around almost all of them multiple times, though you’ll probably be Tekken it a bit easier if you’re paying per game…
Upstairs there’s more to play and a few more of those plastic school-lunch tables form the primary eating space. The old Slim’s Porkchop Pass is now a window into an open kitchen frying up chicken by the bucket-load until the wee hours of the morning. Just like the Colonel’s, their chicken comes as box meals, though you’re allowed to level up your drinks if you’re partial to something stronger. The Super Mega Box (£25) has six pieces, eight wings and two premium sides. That, alongside a couple of cans of lemon Hooch, and I reckon you’ve got the best new food and drink pairing since that hotdog and Champagne place opened in London a few years back.
In huge chunks, on the bone, seasoned and crumb coated, the chicken is much less greasy and markedly better tasting than the high-street stuff, but as it’s so crumbly, be prepared to make twice the mess. If you prefer no meat or faux meat, don’t be alarmed; dietary needs are well-catered for with vegan-friendly burgers, fries and wings sitting on the menu comfortably alongside the rest.
Rainy Day Fries (£5) from the ‘premium sides’ menu were ordered as a bit of a clueless gamble but thankfully turned out to be a success - salt and peppered to the hilt with that addictive mix of saltiness, sweetness and spiciness that’s somehow become a Scouse staple. While the onion rings were good, thick and crisp, it was the gravy (£2) that stuck with us. Dark and rich but with an unmistakable sweetness that reminded me a bit of a Werther’s Original - in the interests of thorough reviewing, I pestered the chef for the secret ingredient, but to no avail - apparently you have to defeat the boss to unlock that one.
Fried chicken buckets and arcade games in the dark definitely aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but you’d have to make a conscious effort not to at least crack a smile in here. The true joy of this place however is that it somehow managed to give me pangs of nostalgia for an era I wasn’t even alive in. Looks like I’ll er… be back?
, 85 Seel Street, L1 4BB
Follow Becky on Twitter
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.
Fried chicken 8, Rainy Day Fries 7, onion rings 7, gravy 8.
Not really applicable, but they were friendly enough.
Loads of fun, really casual.