Rebecca Fry enjoys living in sin at Bold Street’s new Spanish tapas place
If there’s one place in Liverpool where you’re guaranteed to get a good meal it has to be Bold Street- an eclectic, independent strip of bars, cafes and restaurants where you can get around the world in fifty plates and still have change to spare.
Food-wise there’s everything from Paris to Peru, Lebanese to Vietnamese and every inch of the map in between. With that in mind, it seems that the lack of anything suitably Spanish was a rather glaring oversight, one that has now been thankfully remedied by the arrival of brand new tapas restaurant El Pecado.
If they’d have brought these out on a conveyor belt like they do in those sushi restaurants I’d happily have eaten them all afternoon
“The name means fish… that’s probably why the fish is so good here,” I say, nodding enthusiastically as I tuck into my breaded prawns (£8). Those prawns, crisp with panko breadcrumbs were beefy little things, tasting properly of the sea with a rich shellfish dip for dunking. Sadly, it turns out my GCSE level Spanish is much worse than I’d hoped, since the name actually translates as “the sin”- their tagline (and alarmingly, the hashtag) plastered on the windows 'eatdrinksin'. I actually much prefer my version of the name- there’s nothing sinful about enjoying good food and the tapas here really is fantastic.
Like all good holiday stories ours starts with sangria (£15). The house drink is ice-cold and sweet with a hint of warmth thanks a festive touch of cinnamon- a good easy-drinking option for a long Bank Holiday afternoon. There’s a decent selection of beers and other cocktails on the menu too including a Cointreau concoction aptly named ‘Death in the Afternoon’ which, incidentally, is what usually happens when I order booze before tea-time.
You can always get a good measure of a place by ordering the classics and so for a Spanish joint this meant tomato bread (£3). The El Pecado take was served on a slab of toasted sourdough, the sweet tomatoes enhanced by just the tiniest hint of garlic and sea salt on the base. The Spanish tortilla (£5.50) was one of the best dishes of the day. Served warm, crisp on the top with just the slightest hint of eggy wetness still in the middle: just enough to prove its continental credentials without fully scaring me off. A generous dollop of silky garlic aioli was the cherry on top of this traditional potato cake adding a rich, creamy tang to each bite.
An incredible meaty aroma proceeded the baby chorizo (£5.50) and it lived up to its own hype-soft and tender in a pool of sweet cider sauce that could have only been improved by a touch more stickiness. Croquettes with sobrasada (£2.50) arrived piping hot, the crispy outside hiding a super smooth, smoky filling. If they’d have brought these out on a conveyor belt like they do in those sushi restaurants I’d happily have eaten them all afternoon.
The dish I was most excited about trying turned out to be the only one we didn’t finish. The pastry tart (£6) was a pretty looking thing topped with tomato and pepper piperade and tiny quails eggs that oozed out gracefully when I sliced into them. It was the sauce on the base that didn’t sit right, it was jarringly sweet and made the whole thing just a bit too jammy for me.
I kindly let my other half finish that one whilst I worked on the roasted chicken thigh (£6). This was another winner, the rich and crispy thigh meat contrasted with a cold and refreshing piquillo pepper puree and the crunch of chopped hazelnuts.
Each dish we tried was well-made, authentic and packed with flavour- everything you’d expect from traditional tapas but with tiny, skilful twists. The simple interior dotted with colourful murals and a sea of hanging light bulbs give the place a fresh and modern look: a little flavour of Iberian coolness in the heart of the city-centre. Whilst it’s still only quiet (we were the only people in there on our visit), I’ve no doubt there will be people queueing out the door soon for a bite of those Spanish tortillas-if they don’t mind the eternal damnation of course.
El Pecado, 84b Bold Street, Liverpool, L1 4HR
Follow Rebecca on Twitter @eatlvpl
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.
Prawns 8, tomato bread 8, tortilla 9, chorizo 7, croquettes 7, pastry tart 5, chicken thigh 9
No teething issues
A bit of a ghost town, but it’s still early days