A welcome addition to Bold Street’s renowned eatery district, House offers a range of food and drinks to suit a whole host of punters, though some adjustments need to be considered.
Walking in, the first thing you notice is the inspired decor; a smart combination of Leaf-style chic and Shipping Forecast vintage class, House offers a rustic and retro space in which to enjoy your food. With mismatching shabby-chic wooden chairs, chesterfield sofas and elegant chandeliers, the designer had a clear vision in mind: cosy yet stylish, and completely on-trend.
Now let’s talk food. The menu is ambitious in size – ranging from nibbles and sharers, to soups and sandwiches, and finally a selection of main meals, the kitchen staff definitely have a lot on their plates. And for the bar-staff it’s the same story, as House serves a range of teas and coffees, alcoholic beverages and also soft drinks. The teas are all from the Brew brand, keeping the spirit of the old cafe alive in the same space. We also noticed a big projector screen in the basement where we sat, and pondered whether there will be events such as film nights here when the place is more established.
I went for lunch on a Friday afternoon with a friend, not long after House opened its doors to the public, and we enjoyed our meals, although I would say there are still a few tweaks to be made here and there before House becomes the next Bold Street success.
I had what was described as a tortilla with sweet potato and mushroom filling, and a side salad of beans, red onion and rocket. As far as the salad is concerned I had no complaints: a wonderful accompaniment to any dish, the portion was almost overly-generous with a zesty dressing and with some extra ingredients (maybe some feta cheese) could very easily be billed as a main meal. My ‘tortilla’ on the other hand, was actually more of a fritatta and left me feeling a bit disappointed, as I had anticipated a light and healthy lunch. Instead, the fritatta was heavy and very eggy: the sweet potato all collapsed at the bottom, the mushrooms floating on the top, and an expanse of pure solid protein inbetween.
My friend chose the belly pork, with banana shallot gravy on a bed of sweet potato mash. There was some confusion over the gravy, as ‘banana shallot’ was not explained on the menu and the waitress had not been informed of what it meant. After checking with the chef, we were told that it was a type of shallot (who knew?!) and was in fact very tasty. The belly pork was wolfed down, but the portion was small and with only mashed potato to accompany it, left the plate looking a little bare.
We each had a small glass of house white wine, and splitting the bill paid roughly £12 each – a little more than I would have liked to pay for a light lunch, especially when my meal was so far removed from what was described on the menu.
I like the idea of House, yet I feel that a few improvements need to be made if the place is to be a success. When we went, it was quite busy (despite a power cut that left all customers sitting in the dark) and there was only one waitress to man the bar, make the fancy coffees and wait the tables, leaving her rushing around and ruining the chilled-out vibe House clearly has in mind. The menu also probably needs to be condensed if the chef is going to make every dish a winner, as the quality of our food was quite hit and miss.
Although for a cafe the prices were high, and the food wasn’t quite up to standard, I do have a lot of hope for this place. If the owners make some minor tweaks to the menu and pricing, I can see this place doing well as the atmosphere is right and the style really fits in with the current trend of eateries, especially in Liverpool’s independent quarter.