Megan Walsh finds out what’s cooking at Penny Lane’s new bistro
I don’t know about you, but I spent pretty much the entire duration of lockdown curating a detailed list of restaurants I would visit when I was free to roam once more. I’m not going to lie, that list was long - and at the top? A brand-new place called Berrington’s.
Sweet, carby goodness with oozing craters of hot, melted butter
If you haven’t already heard of Penny Lane’s new bistro, then I have some good news and some bad news.
The bad news is, Neon Jamon is no more. I was distraught when I found out. In fact, I’m embarrassed to say, I may have thrown a little tantrum.
The good news is that Berrington’s is a new concept from the very same team who brought us those seven wonderful years of Catalonian delights.
Already, the place is buzzing.
Far removed from its predecessor, the focus at Berrington’s is wood and oak-fired cooking. The chefs believe this method of cooking can elevate the taste of any dish. They say it’s what this part of suburban Liverpool has been missing. After a rocky start - it was forced to close on the very same night of its grand opening - Berrington’s is back.
Since reopening its doors a few weeks ago, Berrington’s has been the word on everybody lips. My Instagram feed has been flooded with the blue and yellow walls of this old-but-new neighbourhood gem.
On a Tuesday by 7pm, the place is full. The vibe is more grown-up than Neon: its exposed brick and neon lights are replaced with panelling, greenery, mustard and velvet.
The menu is small - a good sign – the wine menu, however, is not. Unlike at Neon, where authenticity was key, Berrington’s wine list is not confined to a single part of the world. It’s a well-thought-out list of the curators' favourites. We love the Italian Amarone della Valpolicella (£31) which comes recommended by our server.
There are three of us, so we order a few starters and some sourdough (£4) with marrowbone butter. Tuna tartare (£12) is my favourite and may be the best I’ve tried. Fresh, sashimi-grade tuna tossed in sesame oil, crispy bits of kale add another layer of texture. Chicken yakitori (£7.50) is equally as good - if raw fish isn’t your thing - and our first sample of Berrington’s signature smokey flavours. Giant Argentinian prawns (£10) are my least favourite of the four starters, but only because my heart lies within the remnants of my tuna tartare.
Mains are a whole sea bream (£13) and a couple of flat iron steaks (£11). The sea bream is a picture: perfectly charred, crispy skin, its smokey taste lingering as it makes way for the delicate flavours of what lies beneath. I absolutely couldn’t fault it.
The star of the show, however, is the steak. It takes a lot for me to be moved by meat but this is nothing short of sensational. At 8oz, the cut is neither too much nor too little and the cooking is spot on for my preferred choice of medium-rare.
A side dish of smoky, charred carrots (£6) is very good indeed, but is beaten by a burnt and buttery sweet potato (£5). Some say you can judge a place by the quality of its fries (£3.50) and if this is true then Berrington’s would pass the test with flying colours – but nothing comes close to this glaring orange meteor of sweet, carby goodness with its oozing craters of hot, melted butter.
I’ll miss the tapas at Neon but I’m no longer distraught about its departure. The quality of Berrington’s would be welcome in the most prestigious of places but we get to call it our local spot for date nights and catch-ups with friends. It’s early days and the place is already buzzing.
Welcome to the neighbourhood, Berrington's. I think we’re going to love you here.
Berrington’s 12 Smithdown Pl, Liverpool L15 9EH
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.
bread 7, tuna 10, prawns 6, chicken 7, sea bream 8, steak 9
All fired up