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Best of three: Lasagne

We go to three chain restaurants in Liverpool and find out where you can get a decent lasagne for under a tenner. Here's the result

Published on January 14th 2010.

Best of three: Lasagne

Est Est Est, Edward Pavilion, Albert Dock, Liverpool, L3 4AF. 0151 708 6969. Homemade oven-baked lasagne £7.95

The description: None beyond that.

The reality: The cheapest and also the smallest of the three we tested, this was again squarely cut and came in its own oval dish where it had spread out to fill the space. Sizzling, it was topped by a thick browned cheesy crust, and it, and the edges of the pasta, were scorched hard from the oven's heat.

Beneath, a tomato sauce that tasted a lot of, well, tomato. There was a cheesy sauce also but very little evidence of anything else in the way of meat. The absence of something more solid meant the lasagne sheets had fallen together rather like the pages of a book, and this is how it came to the fork.

4/10: Needs beefing up.

ASK, Queen Arcade, Liverpool, L1 1RH. 0151 709 0080Lasagne Verdi, £8.25

The description: “Our take on the Italian classic has four layers of pasta verdi, our special bolognese sauce, grana padano cheese and bechamel, sprinkled with cheese.

The reality: This was a less precise construction tan Piccolino's take, and the only one to use green lasagne, but other than that it did exactly what it said. The ragu sauce was flavourful, herby and meaty, the bechamel was in evidence in all the right places, the generous amount of Parmesan countered it perfectly, the topping was of a spot-on consistency when it left the oven and it all held together fairly well.

There was really not much to do it down, and for a chain with restaurants all over the UK, a creditable effort.

7/10: ASK and you shall get

***WINNER***Piccolino, 14a Cook Street, Liverpool, L2 9QU. 0151 236 2555

Lasagne al forno £8.75

The description: Oven baked layered pasta with meat ragu, béchamel sauce, tomato and Parmesan cheese

The reality: Dark rich sauce with wonderful depth of flavour, utilising fresh basil and oregano and plenty of finely ground beef mince in evidence. A towering square cut structure at the centre of its own dish. Compact construction, holding its shape right to the end.

Just the right level of moistness without swimming in bechamel sauce and the temperature ready to eat. Pasta: Good texture and flavour with a lovely, soft Parmesan topping that really did taste as if some home made care had been lavished on it.

8.5/10 (maybe even nine but that's pushing it): A sauce of inspiration.

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7 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Graham BandageMarch 20th 2008.

Thank you for your kind words, TV Kelly. You're right. I am ace. I have my own blog now at http://grahambandage.blogspot.comBANANA. But you have to remove the word BANANA if you type it in. I only put it there to stop all that horrible spam.Mmm, Spam. I used to like it grilled. But not as much as Plumrose Bacon Grill.I do have to take issue with your point on lasagne. There's nothing like a nice lasagne. Well apart from a nice cannelloni - that's a bit like a nice lasagne, only more tubular. I could go on like this all day. Has Larry Neild started yet?

TV KellyMarch 20th 2008.

Lasagne! Who the flip goes out for blimming lasagne? What's next? The best three cheese butties? You people make me sick. Sick! I miss that Graham Bandage who used to post here all the time. He was great.

Pasta freakMarch 20th 2008.

Piccolino is a good mile away from the Olive Press pasta. The pizzas are still good in the Olive Press, but I've always found the pasta slightly lagging behind. It's still alright though.

Helvetica BoldMarch 20th 2008.

You missed the lasagne at the Olive Press (Castle Street). I bet it would give Piccolino a run for its money. Fat Git heaven.

Adam Ant EveMarch 20th 2008.

Lasagna, or lasagne as the folk from Naples would have called it had they not been so insistent on ending every word except 'o' with 'a', is a bit of a marmite dish. Except it doesn't have marmite in it. I loved lasagne when it was invented about nine years ago, but its lustre has faded now its been replaced by the younger, more firm meat of the lamb jalfrezi.I'd quite like to see a jalfezi lasagne, and you could even whack some lamb in it if you liked. Although I'd prefer if you didn't put that lamb in that that twat James Oliver slotted in Turin or whatever, because it would just be really old now.Lasagne, as all good people know, can take various forms. It is particularly toothsome served with chicken instead of beef, which I've always found quite a gay meat. I quite like lasagne when it's got eggplant in it instead of meat, but I can't imagine that would suit all tastes. Probably just mine, in fact. And I don't like bechamel sauce, ever since I lived in France. But that could just have been because it was in France.You just can't be too choosy these days.

Doddy al FlyheadMarch 20th 2008.

Is it not a 76-pager this Maundy Thursday then?

Pauline's mateMarch 20th 2008.

You forgot to mention that the portions are massive in Piccolino's, plenty for Fat Git's ample waist measurements, should he care to go. In fact, I am pretty sure I saw Fat Git in there last night.

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