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Liverpool One restaurants

We nip in and out of some of the new names down Paradise Street to give you an idea of what to expect

Published on January 14th 2010.

Liverpool One restaurants

The manageress came over. “I would like to advise you that you cannot order any more drinks after 11pm. But you have until 11.30 to finish any drinks you have already purchased.”

We eyed the clock. 11.07pm. Damn. If only she had told us this at seven minutes to eleven, we thought, swirling the dregs of a last glass of red as the food arrived an eternity after ordering.

But it was only a week into the opening of the restaurant terrace at Liverpool One and mistakes happen. Restaurants are all over the place in the first few weeks of life, and it would be unfair to both them and to you if we went in right now casting a critical eye and setting them in stone with full on reviews. Conversely, they might be fantastic now, while the “head of UK catering operations” is sniffing around, and crap by Christmas when the boss is back in London. So at Liverpool Confidential we'll do the job properly and go in and give you a clearer picture when the dust has settled on the cappuccino..

But still, there is a fuss at the minute, and if you haven't been already, there's a massive array of new names and old presenting themselves to Liverpool all of a sudden, from Pizza Hut to Barburrito and all overlooking Chav Park.

So we thought we'd nip into a few not-so-familiar names to give you a flavour of what you can expect. No marks for service or the place. Just a few first impressions.

Starter: Zizzi, L1. 0151 707 8115

Zizzi is a pizza and pasta “brand” from the people who also own ASK and Pizza Express, which also do, wouldn't you know it, pizza and pasta.

Their swishy new chrome and glass operation here looks not awfully dissimilar to ASK or the P Ex in Southport. Menu ditto. Antipasto Zizzi (£9.95 for two) is a big selection of forgettable Italian meats, salami, smoked mountain ham, prosciutto,marinated sun-dried tomatoes, good, meaty olives, springy red onion focaccia and big fat slices of buffalo mozzarella. It looks pretty and plentiful, but out of a starter menu laden with breads, it's the Hobson's choice if you've got pizza coming or you are on the Atkins Diet, and if you are, should you really be in here anyway?

Still, if you can't wait for your pizza, there's those slabs of mozzarella, delicious hot and, frankly, boring cold, which left us feeling a bit cheesed off. Reverend Curt Manor

Main course: Gourmet Burger Kitchen, L1. 0151 709 3609

Whoever thought that gourmet food only consisted of foie gras, truffles and caviar obviously forgot to tell this new restaurant who prides itself on cooking top of the range burgers. In fact they're called Gourmet Burger Kitchen, or “GBK” if they do say so themselves, so they must be better than your average high street fast food joint.

My Barbecue Burger (£7.40) came with a cocktail stick plunged through the heart of it – probably a necessity given the bulk of meat, salad, relish and mayo it struggled to contain. The 100% Aberdeen Angus Scotch Beef Burger was a beast, my only gripe being there was too much BBQ sauce slapped on there. Don't get me wrong, the homemade sauce was bloody lovely. It's just there was so much of it, my favourite jeans got covered in the stuff and it over powered the taste of meat – the most important part, let's face it.

If I'd wanted, I could have had chosen from a range of extras to have with my burger including different cheeses, egg, bacon, avocado, pineapple and sweet potato. The chips, like the other range of sides, had to be ordered separately.

If your kids are snotty little gits who turn their noses up at McDonald's, maybe this place will shut them up. It's certainly a mouth filler. Ben Patey

Main: Wagamama, L1. 0151 707 2762

Wagamama’s prides itself as being the restaurant for Positive Eating + Positive Living. Well, they certainly serve up a positively mammoth-sized bowl of the traditional Japanese soup, Chicken Ramen (£7.35)

The bedrock of the dish is the pork-and chicken stock-like soup, in which lies a soft bed of lighter-than-air noodles. Also in the mix are the typical condiments menma, made from dried bamboo, spring onions and crunchy seasonal greens. On top sits a tastily-tender piece of marinated chicken, slightly-spicy and grilled-other options include chilli-beef, salmon and mushroom. It was filling, delicious and ticked all the healthy boxes

Countless Waga-workers constantly busy the floor, offering their service and advice. “Have you been to Wagamama before?” is the question upon entrance, and you must be the only person in the world who hasn't: a look at locations on their website reveals a global domination akin to Walt Disney. But an answer of “No” provokes a cheery and detailed explaining of the menu; what each sort of dish entails, what sides go well with what etc. They’re also close at hand to rescue the embarrassed noodle novice who will give up trying the chop-sticks in favour a fork and spoon. Heather Smith

Main: Las Iguanas, L1. 709 4030

It sounded great on paper. In reality it was not much of a looker, but on further deep inspection I was left groaning with pleasure. No, I'm not talking about my first date with Pauline, but the chicken, sweet bell pepper and cheese enchilada (£8.50) that persuaded me into Las Iguanas. “Eat Latin, drink Latin” is the motto, and I was certainly talking in tongues by the time I left. A filled, rolled tortilla, smothered in red chilli sauce, melted cheese and soured cream nestled above rice and a plate of refried beans. Just the thing to set you up for a night on the rank.

The company might have been iffy and a couple of people sneered when it arrived but it was seriously good. Everything fresh as a daisy with lots of good flavours mingling too. Healthy in my book too. So much so, I ordered another one. Fat Git

Dessert, Yo! Sushi, L1. 0151 515 2241

Yo Sushi is a fantastic fun concept which needs a bit of explaining if you've never done it. It's a case of what goes around comes around, literally. You sit down and dishes of food, in various price banded coloured dishes sail by diners on a conveyor belt. Sushi in all guises, sashimi, seaweed and all that Japanese jazz.

You can also order hot noodle dishes from the kitchen. It's cheap-ish, too with dishes ranging from £1.70 up to a princely fiver. But what could they do for pudding? Chocolate cakes, actually, something I only encountered by accident during 18 months in Tokyo after having attempted to buy say, a loaf of bread.

Here, Dorayaki (£2.70) was one of the only Japanese sounding items, a pancake filled with custard and a little thing of raspberry sauce. It wasn't massive, but every bite counted as a treat. A lovely light sponge encased the most delicately flavoured vanilla sauce which was just set. Not oversweet either, and the fruity sauce, was just that, with a hint of sugar and acidity all in one. Straight off the belt? A belter. Angie Sammons

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

EvertonianOctober 24th 2008.

Hey Dig whos bitter now n*b head

Liverpool ConfidentialOctober 24th 2008.

Make that two months old!

AnonymousOctober 24th 2008.

So there's no decent food in bleak Liverpool One either?

zeldaOctober 24th 2008.

Urgh. Wagamama! it is dishwater slops and greasy noodle left overs.Not a single item cooked fresh and salted to death. Monosodium glutamate is the main ingredient in what truly is junk food.For proper food stay home and avoid any of this asian prison food.

Old YellerOctober 24th 2008.

Several years ago now, scientists discovered that colours do actually have a measurable taste. It is to do with the chemical effect of light and shade on the brain, most of us are probably aware of colours associated with mood and how they have not only been employed within the food industry but also in areas such as interrogation or police interview rooms or even hospital casualty waiting areas. The Eurpoean funded Multi Million pound Wavelength Research unit in spain has been researching all aspects of light, colour and invisible light wavelengths fo the last twenty years. So your question about what does Blue taste like, believe it or not, has an answer. Obviously the tastes are miniscule compared to the usual bitter / sweet / sour tastes that we instantly recognise. But nevertheless they have identified and catalogued specific colour reactive tastes.It seems Blue tastes of yellow.Red tastes of purple and Green tastes of pink. Incidently, Brown tastes of HP sauce, which explains a lot.

picky eater...October 24th 2008.

Just come back from lunch at GBK and was quite disapointed. for £25.00 for the two of us overpriced and under tasted...(is that a word) ~I had the blue cheese burger - the meat didnt taste wonderful and cheese didnt taste blue!! not a good start!! I make my own tastier...they want my recipe you think? wont be going back!!

DigOctober 24th 2008.

What does 'blue' taste like? If listening to my Evertonian friends is anything to go by it tastes bitter.

AnonymousOctober 24th 2008.

I had a very average pizza in Zizzi one day and an excellent one in pizza express the next. I had no idea they were related. Why do they need three pizza chains???

DigOctober 24th 2008.

I would recommend printing off the page with the offer and taking it in to The Mal and explaining. They're very nice people. I phoned up to book but you can only get the offer by booking online but if that service is failing then I'd expect them to honour it in person or by phone booking.

allys31October 24th 2008.

Malmaison - while I'm ranting I filled in a form for Malmaison special offer as we want to use the special offer and no-one has called me back as yet. Same thing happened in Manchester. Do they not want my money?!

PaulOctober 24th 2008.

Tried GBK at a time of day when there were more staff than customers, food okay, service poor and slow. Memo to all franchisees: employ untrained minimum wage part timers and nobody to manage them and your customers will stay away.

Liverpool ConfidentialOctober 24th 2008.

Anonymous, don't give up! This overview is three months old, when the restaurants had only been open a couple of weeks, and, as it says at the start, had not had chance to settle properly, so we didn't score them (most of them came out OK anyway). We plan to go back and do closer reviews of the Liverpool One restaurants soon. This should merely be treated as a snapshot of what's on offer. You tell us.

just meOctober 24th 2008.

I went to Las Iguanas and thought it was fab. Service was great, food was even better infact the only thing I could fault about the place was the price of the rose wine £5.50 a glass. But other than that me and the other half had the tapas to share £20 for five dishes and each one of them was really nice infact we are hoping to go again this weekend.

ALLYS31October 24th 2008.

We love Wagamama so when one opened in hometown Liverpool we were over-the-moonThe trip on sat early evening was not good. The food was the best we've had at a Wagamama but the service was TERRIBLE. They were not very nice/friendly/chatty, forgot everything and just generally hopeless.

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