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The Bubble Room, Woolton - restaurant review

Christopher Brown feels it's a little bit flat at the back of The Elephant

Published on April 27th 2011.


The Bubble Room, Woolton - restaurant review


THERE’S something mildly annoying about a restaurant calling itself a “hidden gem”.

It's like the kid in school who goes around trying to give themselves a new nickname. He might want everybody to call him “Flash” or “Blondie” but there's a fair old chance if he pushes the issue the rest of his classmates might call him “Lanky” or “Ginger Nuts”.

Bits of the thing seemed dotted
around the uber-trendy slate plate
leaving me, Loony Tunes-esque,
chasing the damned thing down

So it was with a roll of the eyes we spotted the old clichéd self-promotion on The Bubble Room Woolton's website. Ultimately, it's one up from some random boozer in the middle of nowhere throwing the words “The World Famous” into its title. Sadly, my friend, it's a title you're given rather than something you can bestow upon yourself.

1111elf08.jpgThe amusingly named The Bubble Room - a fledgling chain with arms in Alderly Edge and Bramhall - does have one more prominent claim, if not to fame then to a flicker of recognition:  it's behind the Elephant Pub.

Inside,  the first thing that really stands out is how much it looks like the hotel in Twin Peaks. It's all wooden panelling, suspicious lighting and red curtains. Luckily no moose heads about but there is a welcoming vibe. It also bodes well for damn fine cup of coffee (although we weren’t there for that).

The restaurant is firmly in gastropub territory with a menu of meat and, erm, a bit of fish. But when my eye landed on tempura king prawns on an Asian salad with sweet chilli and lemongrass dipping sauce (£7.25) I was expecting something a little more exciting.

brown 517.JPGFour prawns butterflied had benefitted from a lack of oiliness from the pan, but the sweet chilli felt little more than pedestrian and the Asian salad was dominated by slivers of cucumber that were, frankly, a little dull. The entire thing was just so averagely neighbourhood restaurant that, after such a big build up, it was a bit of a let-down.

This was even more true of The Wife's starter. Homemade chicken liver parfait with shallot and pear chutney, mixed leaf salad and mini olive loaf (£6.50).

Sadly, the loaf tasted neither of mint nor olive and the pear chutney felt like it didn't add anywhere enough sharpness. The chicken liver parfait itself had plenty of quantity but little quality.

brown 519.JPGBasically both dishes felt designed to be unobtrusive. But there was little here that could justify the cost, let alone the need for Google Maps, GPS, a compass and a trusty guide, which the initial promise of a “hidden gem” would promise.

Luckily, the reason why this venue was worth the effort became apparent next. As with many a restaurant with gastropub billing, it's all about the meat.

First, the slow cooked blade of beef, root vegetables glazed with smoked pancetta, silverskin onion and Madeira sauce (£16.95). There was plenty of Madeira sauce, thick, rich, a little sweet, which sat nicely with the bite of the onions. These pieces were a size of pearls, but despite their size offered a fair bit of punch, lifting the rest of the dish.

The meat itself was hefty and had been cooked long to the point of melting. This was a decent piece of beef, despite being a cheaper cut, and tasted great. There was just a hint of horseradish to the mash which fitted well.

brown 520.JPGThe Wife had been warned by the waitress that the meat of her pan fried duck breast with celeriac fondant, spring onion and sweet potato mash & pak choi (15.95) would be pink, as is the style. It was, and she was made up. The breast was cooked beautifully, having just enough colour to it while the sweet potato mash also showed the restaurant is following foodie trends. The pak choi was a crisp and fresh veg and her only complaint was the accompanying sauce tasted a little salty.

We enjoyed a bottle of French Malbec (£17.95) from a varied enough wine list. I would have preferred it from South America for that particular grape, although that really is being fussy.

Once again our waitress warned us of something which could be a bump in the road for our meal. My choice of passion fruit cheesecake with lemon meringue ice cream (£5.25) was “deconstructed”. Translate as “a bit all over the shop”.

The base was an unyielding circular lump of rock hard biscuit which I couldn't break with a spoon. The cake was a dollop with fruity bits dumped in and the lemon meringue ice cream followed the theme of being “deconstructed” with the meringue pieces magically falling to the bottom of the scoop. The effect was unsatisfying as bits of the thing seemed dotted around the uber-trendy slate plate leaving me, Loony Tunes-esque, chasing the damned thing down.

brown 522.JPGThe Wife fared better with the raspberry and mascarpone crème brulee with arrived with homemade shortbread (£4.95). High praise indeed when she commented that she wished there was more of the latter, mainly because they were so buttery. The crème brulee had plenty of crunch to its creaminess and the raspberry added a sharp bite.

It was a quiet midweek night when we made the trip up to Woolton, and our waitress was attentive and friendly, giving the impression that her cool would remain in place even if the place was heaving.

The Bubble Room is a safe bet; a decent meal at a reasonable price. Whether it's worth travelling for depends on how much you like your meaty mains (book a cab before you leave if you’re not driving)  but this is a pleasant enough punt for your pennies, and certainly one which is good news for Woolton villagers.

Rating:

12/20

Breakdown:

6/10 food
3/5 service
3/5 ambience

 

Address:

 

The Bubble Room,

1 Woolton Street,
Woolton, 
Liverpool, L25 5NH.
0151 909 0949.
woolton@thebubbleroom.co.uk

Liverpool Confidential food critics dine unannounced and pick up their own bills. Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes. Following on from this the scores represent: 1-5 saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9 get a DVD, 10-11 if you must, 12-13 if you’re passing,14-15 get a bus, 16-18 get a taxi, 19 pure quality, 20 get a room

 

 


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Latest Rants

Phillip Lawler

I will visit this place once the management and staff have got their act in order.

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seaman staines

Well they say that 'love comes in spurts...'

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Anonymous

Just like the swingers room

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John Bradley

This is a menu for Laconia in 1938, it doesn't look that great.…

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