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Restaurant review: Romios

The roving Romeo of the road, Fat Git, bimbles down Lark Lane with his cousin

Published on January 14th 2010.

Restaurant review: Romios

LIKE my doctor, I have always enjoyed single-handed practice.

But there are times on the rank when I just can't manage it, and could do with someone else's help.

Into the cab, at this big gaff in Sanfield Park, trooped these three birds. They were classy. Nice tans, white teeth. Tight denim. I could suddenly feel a clock and half coming on

This was the case last week when “Radio Caroline”, the posh bit on the set at Barry's Cabs, got me this top fare. Could I go to West Derby and do a wait-and-return to a party in Aigburth, by the Cricket Club?

Yeh. Brilliant.

The bloke who'd ordered it, she said, was a businessman who owned a gym, and a mate of Barry's, but a bit of a nutter. He was coming back from the Isle of Man tonight and he wanted to make sure his missus back in Liverpool arrived home in one piece from this party. With nothing attached to her, and especially nothing with a pulse.

“He's a bit possessive,” she goes, like that. “But Barry told him she'd be all right with you.”

Story of my life. So into the cab, at this big gaff in Sanfield Park, trooped these three birds. They were classy. Nice tans, white teeth. Tight denim. I could suddenly feel a clock and half coming on.

Shrieking their heads off laughing. The sort who neck a bottle of vodka in front of the X-Factor and then go out on the lash proper. Gorgeous, until they throw up.

It was nearly midnight when I picked them up again. The one who wanted to go back to West Derby had taken the knock. She was in a heap and I needed to get her out before the old Technicolor yawn kicked in on the upholstery. The other two wanted to go to Garston. Happy days.

Until we got to Allerton Maze when one of them started saying we were going the wrong way and why hadn't we gone to Garston first as we were in the south end.

I told her their mate had to be back by one. It was then she started shouting the odds and telling me she was ringing her old man. Really shrill, if you know what I mean. She had her mobile out.

The other one was coming on to me. “Can I give you an Indian head massage?” she goes. “I'm brilliant, you know.”

With that, this fit looking orange bird starts digging these nails into my neck and saying, “What's your name? Take no notice of her. Just relax...just relax.”

I was sailing down Queens Drive at the time, under the bridge by Sefton Park and thought I'd better pull over. One bird in a coma, one yelling at me to turn round or else and another with her hands all over my number one.

Psycho-bitches and the police couldn't have been far away.

“Just f****ing turn round and go to Garston NOW, you fat t***, she was saying. “Get off him, Leanne!”

Then she stopped dead as her eye caught the movement of another figure emerging from the darkness of the front. As the engine cut dead, all you could hear was the swish of the trees and the nail queen's gasp as she backed away. An iPhone hit the floor.

It was Cousin Tony. The tourettes king. And he wasn't happy.

Two hours earlier, it had all been

different when we rolled up outside Romios, the Greek in Lark Lane for a mouthful of a different kind.

I'd already dropped the fare off in Mersey Drive, and part of the “wait” deal was to go and get some scran and put it on the account.

Our Tone had been sitting on the floor in the front of the Fairway all night, unbeknownst to anyone else. He's always done that, apart from when he got banged up. He is still wearing the tag, except his parole officer's now saying it's fine to stay out late, provided he doesn't ever go within 800 yards of Dale Street.

After all that flesh I was suddenly obsessing about the Meditteranean in my head. I like a good souk, but, in the absence of that, some Greek spicy beef sausage. The first thing to try, therefore, was Pastorma (£3.50), which is just that, with garlic. Five swallows in all, with a leaf of lettuce and a bit of tomato and, well look at the picture.

It demanded good teeth, which I am lucky to have, having been on incapacity benefit for 17 years and having enjoyed excellent free dental care in that time.

From a rich looking menu, Keftedes (£3.50) was better: meatballs quite tender in a “rich” tomato sauce which wasn't. “Pitta bread “was the thick white barmcake kind that George the Greek baker makes, but hadn't done today, and the hummous it came with (£3) was thin. You might like it though.

I like a good looking dish and vegetarian moussaka (£10) was just that. It wasn't packed with seasoning, and a vegetable-only dish frequently needs an extra boost in this part of the world. But there was plenty of oozy cheese sauce over the potatoes and aubergine, and most veggies probably would be happy with it, even the tofu-loving Lark Lane variety.

In between courses, the waitress came and sat down with us. We were the only customers. Tony was animated, “gimme five!” he shouted. They must have heard him because five shelled prawns arrived in his Skordates (£15), sloshing about in a lake of garlic, cream and white wine sauce which might appeal to the faint hearted who don't like garlic. That's £3 a prawn, he observed.

There are few words to describe the rice apart from orange. A bowl of warm chips had seen better days, but I managed them, and a Greek salad was not the leafy and vine-tomato filled Mediterranean experience you'd hanker after, but the feeble English version. It was Tony who pointed out that Retsina (£13) was almost an anagram of reisty, which described the taste.

But now, back in the cab in Sefton Park it was quiet. The Garston girls, terrified when the oldest asbo in town made his unscheduled appearance, had got off. Leaving their comatose mate, thank God, they fled into the dark. Like I say, sometimes Tony is useful, and now he was contentedly playing with the iPhone.

“F****ng hell. What a night,” he goes.

“I know.” I replied, having a good scratch downstairs

“I couldn't half do with some Horlicks.”

It was then that the woman in the back began to scream.

Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind in the area: fine dining against the best fine dining; cafes against the best cafes; Greek tavernas against Greek tavernas etc. 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 worth a trip,16-17 very good, 17-18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. More than 20: Don't be daft.

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

AnonymousOctober 9th 2009.

the food at the red fort is excellent as is the food at the turkish BBQ chilli banana is ok but priceythe greek is crap as reported heremarantos crapthe tapas bar crap but do a decent breakfastthe turkish coffee bar is crapthe moon and pea is ok for breakfast or breakfast type foodkieths is kieths and always will bepablos is ok but limited menu and over priced worth a visit to view the chav decorthe baguette does a good breakfast depending on who is cooking

Nik16October 9th 2009.

Most Greek food is crap in this country. No decent Greek restaurants in Liverpool.

AnonymousOctober 9th 2009.

Food is not good in Lark Lane anywhere. Akis used to be the place for a late night Greek but now it's one of the most piss poor ecxuses for a bar in south Liverpool.

KeriOctober 9th 2009.

I saw a rentokill van parked outside today and waited patiently to see where the technitian was headed for, and yes, you've guessed it, so I hope you enjoyed your 'vegetarian' moussaka. Anyone who thinks the food is all awful on the lane has clearly not been to Elif the turkish restaurant. Their lamb is actually the best thing I have ever tasted, and the special sauce is pretty impressive too. Good service in a traditional Turkish restaurant where they let the food talk for itself.

AnonymousOctober 9th 2009.

What has David Beckham or the artistic "king" of Garston, Alex Corina, got to do with this? Is this yet another slur by the Lib Dem administration?

Twitchy the TrampOctober 9th 2009.

I can only agree with the comments about the general poor quality on offer in Lark Lane. I recently tried a half prtion of chips and gravy from the bin near the old polics station and i have to say they were pretty awful. Soggy, cold and stuck to the paper and when you could scrape them off they were almost tasteless. I certainly wont be digging in that bin again. Fortunately there was the remainder of a kebab in the doorway to the junk-sorry-antique shop. The donner meat was average but the pitta bread was hard and unpleasant. However the yoghurt and chilli sauce once scraped from the step and reapplied to the meat had just the kind of piquant flavour to save it. For me Allerton Road has now overtaken Lark Lane for good bin and pavement grub. I would recommend the bus shelter outside the old woolworths. Pizza, often still warm and if in a PapaJohn's box ususally it goes down a treat. The curry and rice is good too but you have to eat some of it off the glass. Just one word of warning the pizza often found near Dominos is not always Pizza. Have a sniff first and if it has a whiff of Becks or Corona give it a miss.

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