Host, Liverpool *****

Host is a Pan-Asian restaurant situated in the heart of the city, on Hope Street. Boasting a menu that bursts with choice and variety, this was an obvious choice for a family meal.

Having Host recommended to us by many foodie friends, I eagerly soaked up the aromas and atmosphere as we entered the eatery. On arrival, we experienced a bustling and vibrant vibe, housed within a simplistic and minimalist interior, which echoes the Asian-inspired cuisine. Although some would be put off by the pastel trestle tables and matching benches, I urge every visitor to give the decor a chance and focus on the banquet ahead.

Pleasantly surprised by my parents’ pact to be vegetarian for the night, I was able to sample almost all of the vegetarian dishes on offer, as we all ordered dishes to share. Prior to our visit, I had been told brilliant things about the meat-options on the menu too – so carnivores, do not fear!

To start, we sampled the Vegetable Spring Rolls with Pickled Plum Dressing, very reasonable for 4 at just £4.50. The rolls were crisp and delicate, with a highly original take on the filling, and the dip was sweet, with hints of chilli, garlic and many other Asian-inspired flavours. We also shared Teriyaki Mushroom & Smoked Tofu Skewers (£5.25), which were delicately seasoned, and accompanied by a sesame sob noodle salad, complete with fresh edamame beans and lashings of soy sauce. Finally, my favourite of the starters was the Corn Fritters with Tamarind Caramel; delectably sweet with some killer red chillies for extra punch, complimenting the delicately fried fritters perfectly, which had a light and fluffy texture, melting in the mouth. Although I am vegetarian, friends have recommended the Deep Fried Ham Hock among other starters, which is apparently superb.

For our main course, which arrived shortly after our starter plates were replaced with fresh ones, we shared a variety of vegetable curries. Although there was some confusion over our side order of egg fried rice, our mains arrived promptly and steaming hot, in lovely glazed stoneware bowls. The Tomato and Lentil Curry, with aubergine and broccoli for £9.50 was packed with flavours, all balanced beautifully, each clearly distinguishable from the next, and the tomato was a clearly recognisable ingredient, standing out in a unique way amongst the other more ‘usual’ Eastern ingredients. Salt and Pepper Tofu with with Baby Corn, Pak Choi and Black Bean Sauce (£9.75) was also fantastic, with the tofu being light and perfectly seasoned with a crispy exterior, on a bed of vegetables lazing in the potent black bean sauce. The final curry we shared was the Chunky Vegetable and Firm Tofu Curry (£10.50), which was a roaring success, as the tofu was fantastic – it is so rare to find such ‘firm’ tofu and it worked brilliantly with the chunky veg in the thick coconut-infused sauce. All three dishes fought for my favouritism, but it was impossible to choose between them, as they were all so different and really proved that going veggie can be just as exciting and full of variety as eating meat and fish.

After wrestling with my conscience, I decided on dessert: a selection of sorbets (£5.25) cleansed the palate and each flavour was equally delicious. The raspberry was fruity and tart, the coconut wonderfully creamy and firm, and the mango bursting with citrus freshness – a perfectly refreshing end to such a sumptuous meal. My mother also tried the banoffee pie, which she awarded rave reviews, and the portion was just the right size.

Boasting a thoroughly delicious, original and exotic menu, Host is a welcome addition to the Eastern food scene in Liverpool, serving fantastic food which brings a twist to the usual Chinese and Japanese fare, all at a reasonable price and served in style.

About teafortwotalk

Freelance writer @Pickwickmag @Corridor8 @Biennial / Editor @artinliverpool. Available for writing and copyediting.
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