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Restaurant review: Gut as big as Liverpool

Liverpool Confidential ranter Fat Git joins the restaurant review team - on probation - and parks up outside Savina

Published on September 29th 2010.


Restaurant review: Gut as big as Liverpool

I LOVE my food. Let me start by saying that. Some say I love it too much. But I love my food because it cheers me up. No two ways about it.

When I was approached by Liverpool Confidential to share my views on food with the world, I was over the moon and almost fell over. I have never written much, in fact nothing, but they said they would sort out the spelling and whether it made sense or not, just like they do with that Alex Curran in the Mirror.

Our kid, meanwhile, was knocking back
a bottle of Sancerre like there was no tomorrow, because of all the chillies lashed on his nachos. So
he started to get louder and redder, banging on about
his accident again

I told them I know what I like and that I'd eaten at some of the best restaurants in Britain, Europe and the world. "That'll do for us," they said. They also told me they would foot the bill, which is good because I have been on incapacity benefit for 15 years.

Savina is in that big new block of restaurants that they call the East Village. It is not like the East Village in New York, and I've been there enough times to restaurants, like Jewel Bako, Hearth and Bond 6. I am a man of generous girth and I am made to feel at home there.

Liverpool Confidential said I could take someone with me. Now most of my mates are kipping in the day because they do the night collar, but our Tony, my cousin, really does needs cheering up.

He has got a compo claim in with the council, going back a couple of years. I don't get involved, know what I mean, but he doesn't half go on about them, and keeps getting into a nark and sacking his solicitor. I don't know what it's all about, but he says he'll see his mates right one day.

They do this two course lunch menu in the Savina for £11.95. The place was completely empty except for us and the waitress, Carmen. She was blonde and a bit Spanish I think. "It's like a Texas desert in here," said our Tony, looking around. But I was thinking about Texas dessert.

I hoped the portions would be as accommodating as they are in the US of A. I get depressed if I'm hungry. But I didn't say anything in case Carmen thought I was greedy, and I wanted to create the right impression. You never know.

For a starter, Tony got nachos covered in melted cheese, and chopped tomatoes with soured cream and guacamole. Carmen asked us if we were feeling adventurous and wanted extra jalapeno chillies on top. I'm all for that so said "yes" before our Tony could get a word in, even though it was his food.

He was a bit disappointed by the soured cream which he thought had come out of a squirty bottle and he's had a phobia about that kind of thing forever. Won't tell anyone why.

At home, I like to go berserk with the cheese and chilli nachos, especially when Trisha is on. She might be 50 but I wouldn't mind getting to know her when she comes to Liverpool to do that City Talk. She looked dead fit on that picture with Kris Donaldson the other week.

I got Champinons Rellenos (mushrooms) stuffed with Stilton, apple and coriander. That might not sound Mexican to you either, but came with salsa and that soured cream again.

The salsa was muchos tomatoes and not muchos else, but that's just me being picky cos I've plonked my bum in so many Michelin-type restaurants and real cantinas. You'll like it, though.

I have to say I was impressed by the wine list and by Liverpool Confidential's attitude to the old lotion. "Try not to neck 14 bottles of brandy," they said. "But otherwise do what you like." Anything goes with this lot.

Sometimes I do a "love job" in my taxi (that's a freebie to you) and these are definitely on for one if I see them walking home. Big tip and all.

Then onto the main course: Classic Fajitas for our Tone and Classic Burritos for me. It's a long time since I had my hands on those.

Mine sounded very satisfying: a large flour tortilla, stuffed with beef, that came with frijoles (refried beans), salsa and cheese, baked and topped with more soured cream. The whole piece tasted mostly of beans and, again, was not spicy enough for me because I've been to America. But you probably won't notice.

Our kid, meanwhile, was knocking back a £25 bottle of Sancerre like there was no tomorrow, because of all the chillies lashed on his nachos. So he started to get louder and redder, banging on about his accident again. Thumping the table. Just as well there was no one in there.

His chicken fajitas sizzled away on a platter. He got some patatas bravas (chunky potatoes with red onion and chorizo) with it, but they didn't really make a big impression so I ate the lot when he went to the toilet. He said the chicken was alright. It came with that tomato salsa, guacamole, and a big heap of grated cheese to make up a fajita with. There wasn't anywhere like enough heat to have melted the cheese so it got left. It was all good and substantial, though, and I ate everything that he couldn't manage.

With all due credit to Savina, we were in there a long time and Carmen didn't throw us out even though they shut at half-two. This is a perfectly OK place by me if all you want is some half decent grub and a long gab with your mates while watching the world go by. Just like I do when I'm parked on the Adelphi.

Tony, meanwhile, was up for anything after that, and last I saw of him he was outside the Newz bar flashing his cash.

Happy days.

Rating:12/20
Breakdown:6/10 Food
3/5 Service
3/5 Ambience
Address: Savina
138 Duke Street
Liverpool
L1 5AG
0151 708 9095

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

Friar's BalsamJanuary 24th 2008.

'Subway' is rubbish. You go in there and they haven’t even got the sarnies ready! You have to queue while some seedy-looking, unwashed ragamuffin hastily assembles them as the anxious customers look on! I could do it myself for nothing – and without the wait!

Amigo OneJanuary 24th 2008.

You are right, Andrea, about the salsa and soured cream. It's hard to find truly imaginative Mexican food anywhere up north, so all you can hope for is something tasty and fresh. I used to Love the Tavern in Smithdown in my big boozy days about 12 years ago, but I'd never seen soured cream and guacamole before, or a jug of margharitas either. As for El Macho, I can well imagine.

Graham BandageJanuary 24th 2008.

Mum? Is that you?

Tom TubigripJanuary 24th 2008.

I happen that Mr. Bandage is a real rib-tickler.

Genuinely confusedJanuary 24th 2008.

There are some very sad people in this world. Jeez.

Sir Howard WayJanuary 24th 2008.

At least the place wasn't full of shouting chumps like other, more expensive restaurants. But "East Village" my arse, it's Duke Street! What's wrong with these oafs in the Council who have to keep inventing daft, pseudo-American names for places we have known and loved all our lives?

AnacletoJanuary 24th 2008.

El Macho? Where the Margarita has NO lime juice in it? Where whole parties have sent their burnt/raw/microwaved/indifferent meals back? No, gringo! You will eat 'Bandit' if you know what is good for you!

lotsofpeoplebutbynomeanseverybodythinkthey'reabloodycomedian says..“ Explains a lot, Tubi. I've never been to Oldham. Well,you wouldn't, would you?January 24th 2008.

You're still not funny, Bandage

Dr NookieJanuary 24th 2008.

BEND OVER!!!

Tom TubigripJanuary 24th 2008.

'Homs'?

Graham BandageJanuary 24th 2008.

Thank you for your kind comments. Ah, yes, the internet is a dangerous tool in the wrong hands. It's fine for the likes of you and me, lotsofpeoplebutbynomeanseverybodythinkthey'reabloodycomedian, but occasionally some ham-fisted imbecile who can't even operate a mouse without having some sort of seizure comes along to spoil it for everybody.

Allen & TheresaJanuary 24th 2008.

My husband and I had a very enjoyable meal at Savina. I felt the foods were wonderful and delicious. The service was excellent and the prices were average. I must say it is the best Mexican food I have had since arriving in England 4 years ago!!

Prince SparkJanuary 24th 2008.

The so-called Mexican food in Liverpool? I haven't attempted to eat the muck for years. Alarmingly what used to start out as a 'beef chemichanga' turned, all-too-often, into a 'chicken' one halfway along its length. I reckon all the local restaurants (that shall remain nameless) buy 'em from the same factory. I ate a proper, freshly-made one in London, and it was a revelation.

Davy Liver-Redundancy-NoticeJanuary 24th 2008.

A creditable effort from Mr. F. Git! Can we have more of him please? His observatios of life when he is out on the 'bimble' are most amusing an entertaining. Oh, and we don't have a tea machine. Like staff canteens and tea ladies they passed into history under the iron hoof of Thatcher.

Tom TubigripJanuary 24th 2008.

Eh up! Are you lookin' for trouble?

Graham BandageJanuary 24th 2008.

Love you, too. Would take exception with your username, mind you. I don't think everybody does think they're a comedian. What about chaps like that Stanley McHale? He used to be a comedian, but he gave it up. If anything, he's absolutely convinced he's not a comedian. And that's just one example off the top of my head. I could give you literally dozens of other examples. Perhaps you should consider changing your user name to 'lotsofpeoplebutbynomeanseverybodythinkthey'reabloodycomedian,' which I would suggest is more accurate.

AndreaJanuary 24th 2008.

I would like to try Savina but El Macho on Hope Street seriously put me off mexican food for life. I now have a severe phobia and why do they think you want soured cream and salsa on everything I once went to the Tavern on Queens Square and they loved the stuff it came on top of everything I had to dig dep to find out what was underneath it. Disgusting and its a chain and as you may have noticed from the Living Room rant - i dont like chains.

lotsofpeoplebutbynomeanseverybodythinkthey'reabloodycomedianJanuary 24th 2008.

You're still not funny

MatronJanuary 24th 2008.

Nurse! Come here for your meat injections.

Barbara WindsorJanuary 24th 2008.

Bloody hell.

lotsofpeoplebutbynomeanseverybodythinkthey'reabloodycomedianJanuary 24th 2008.

Some idiotic bastard has gratuitously copied and pasted my posting name, plus a previous comment of mine, and used the whole thing as their own posting name. Idiotic, and a cheek! I do, however, share his sentiment

Tom TubigripJanuary 24th 2008.

Oo no, I love a bit of ham, 'yum yum, pig's bum' as we say around here!I thought you meant Ken Hom, who is kept prisoner in Fat Git's Hackney Cab.He's always enjoying a rank.

Tom TubigripJanuary 24th 2008.

I am from Oldham. It is my home. I made it famous, owld lad!

Kenneth WilliamsJanuary 24th 2008.

ooooooooooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhh, bitchy! They can't help it if they work for a crap employer!

lotsofpeoplebutbynomeanseverybodythinkthey'reabloodycomedianJanuary 24th 2008.

Indeed. Anyhow, where's your mate Tubbydrip?

Ford CantinaJanuary 24th 2008.

Following this review, I decided to give Savina a try on the way home from Chinese New Year, and, following the advice of Thomas, went for something I'd never heard of. It was very nice and fresh and I shall go again, that is when I haven't got my children with me trashing the place because they were high on sugar cubes. Sorry, Savina!

Graham BandageJanuary 24th 2008.

Don't mind me. Just looking.

Recovering alcoholicJanuary 24th 2008.

I have just been reading this review and it looks to me like the bloke in it was plied with drink which made him react in a very strange way. It has made me want to go on a massive bender right now and I am eyeing up my wife's bottle of Chanel Number 5 in a totally inappropriate way.

lotsofpeoplebutbynomeanseverybodythinkthey'reabloodycomedianJanuary 24th 2008.

Explains a lot, Tubi. I've never been to Oldham. Well,you wouldn't, would you? I've know a few old hams in my time, though.

Pauline's mateJanuary 24th 2008.

Fat Git is a man and therefore will not be allowed in, I don't think. Although he could certainly do with a Body Shop makeover. Where, oh where are you Pauline?

laohugongJanuary 24th 2008.

Once, in the mists of time, I lived for a spell in the mountains of Mexico - well not literally the mountains but a little town, name of San Miguel de Allende. No one there fed on the kind of Mexican mush that is served up in Liverpool, or the UK generally - that reheated, mashed beans and minced beef baby food that comes usually in a yukky flour pancake. They ate mostly fish and other nice things - well, the posh folk did; Americans and Canadians and other assorted foreigners et al, and the swaggering local Dons and their swishing senoritas. The hoi polloi chewed on old tyres, stubs of cactus, deep fried insects, or the boiled remnants of their sombreros.

Sid JamesJanuary 24th 2008.

I took a work colleague to Savina around the Christmas holiday time and thought if I showed her a good time and plied her with a few drinks, she might give me a good long snog with her soft lips and tongue, or i might even get a grip of her tight little body later in the car. But it all went horribly wrong and I have been left thoroughly frustrated and confused ever since. Perhaps it was the re-fried beans?

Carry on CabbieJanuary 24th 2008.

Fat Git has been on incapacity benefit for 15 years but I bet he wouldn't mind a nice job in a warm office where he could just sit doing no work, looking at all the birds by the tea machine and going on websites like this and getting paid for it. Instead he has to make do with just the odd rank.

Phil McCrackenJanuary 24th 2008.

I used to like Hale and Pace. What happened to them?

Martin JamesJanuary 24th 2008.

I don't know where you would go for truly authentic Mexican food. Or would you want that? It's all just beans and rice. Horrible. This, I suggest, is Tex Mex as your reviewer suggests and we don't really do that level of hot and spicy in this country because of our flaccid tastebuds. Having said that, I will give Savina a go because I've driven past and it's the only one in that lovely looking part of Duke Street I haven't tried.I will let you know how it compares with my all time fave, the Tavern on Smithdown.

Liverpool ConfidentialJanuary 24th 2008.

Fat Git will be back soon...

ElastoplastJanuary 24th 2008.

Have the Three Amigos been employed by a PR company here?

David BrentJanuary 24th 2008.

Chill out

Bessie BunterJanuary 24th 2008.

Will Fat Git be reviewing the 'Thirsty Thursdays' for Liverpool Confidential readers?

Viv A ZapataJanuary 24th 2008.

Oops, I forgot to mention that it was also very reasonably-priced, which probably puts the shouting chumps and the yoberati off!

lotsofpeoplebutbynomeanseverybodythinkthey'reabloodycomedianJanuary 24th 2008.

Calm down, Turdylip. You old hams are touchy buggers

SavlonJanuary 24th 2008.

It's worse than that! You have to shout instructions at the grubby (and apparently clueless) operative! They're being paid to make sandwiches, a basic skill! It's not brain surgery now is it? I could make sandwiches when I was about 3, as soon as I was tall enough to see and reach onto the table.

Graham BandageJanuary 24th 2008.

Eh?

Graham BandageJanuary 24th 2008.

Never mind all this Mexican guff. I was frankly astonished to discover this morning that Subway has opened another shop in my back garden. I drew back the curtains this morning and there it was, open for business and selling big breakfast specials. What worries me, however, even more than the sheer numbers of people trampling my lawn in their haste to buy a foot-long Meatball Marinara, is the effect on my kitchen. I don't think it will be sustainable to run my own gaff if Subway undercuts my toast budget. And even as I type this, a man in Subway green overalls is measuring up the space of the desk next to me in my office, which is currently unoccupied. The buggers are taking over. Soon all of Liverpool's Tesco, Subway and Starbucks outlets will have to exist in the same space but on different vibrational planes. You mark my words.

lotsofpeoplebutbynomeanseverybodythinkthey'reabloodycomedianJanuary 24th 2008.

hamophobic bastard

Tom TubigripJanuary 24th 2008.

I happen to think that Mr. Bandage is a real rib-tickler.

AnonymousJanuary 24th 2008.

Yes. They drink in the bar of the Sir Thomas Hotel

everybodythinksthey'reabloodycomedianJanuary 24th 2008.

Graham Bandage, you're so funny your name ought to be Badinage - not

Viv A. ZapataJanuary 24th 2008.

Popped into Savina over the weak end, the service was swift and courteous, the food was delicious and the Margarita had lime in it!The other diners were civilised and well-behaved, no bellowing show-offs or members of the 'yoberati' were present.Thanks, Fat Git! Your recommendation was spot-on!

ThomasJanuary 24th 2008.

I too would agree with Allen & Theresa, I have eaten at Savina many time, may I suggest trying the more "adventurous modern" cuisine rather than the old fajitas or burritos. I have recommended Savina to many people, and took our work do there over Christmas, never failed me, we love it. Go again, this time try something new!! Allen/Theresa are correct, definitely the best Mexican in town!!!

lotsofpeoplebutbynomeanseverybodythinkthey'reabloodycomedianJanuary 24th 2008.

For a start, Tubigrip, you have a nasty habit of repeating yourself, and it's not like you've got anything worth saying once, and, for another thing, you are clearly one of these sad cases who finds very unfunny things funny. I bet you liked The Office

Graham BandageJanuary 24th 2008.

My apologies if your name really is Everybodythinksthey'reabloodycomedian, by the way.

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