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First look: Cargo Restaurant and Bar

A Cypriot and a Greek and they brought the view too

Written by . Published on August 13th 2014.

First look: Cargo Restaurant and Bar

THE mantra “It’s only five minutes from town in a cab.” began to be uttered in earnest in Liverpool earlier this summer.  Mainly by PR people.

Sparked by the International Festival For Business, some Giants stuff and the launch of  the Titanic Hotel and Rum Warehouse in July, the message inevitably had a follow-up: “It’s less than £3 in a private hire taxi," the account handler from Spin, Duck and Dive would have you know. "We were surprised!” 

Somebody had to go first in the leisure regeneration of the docks, north of the Pier Head, and the owners of the cavernous Jesse Hartley venue next to the Tobacco Warehouse were It, with their vast hotel.

However, before you contemplate that, LIverpool’s newest restaurant has opened on the far flung reaches of Princes Dock. It is but a bracing march from the Pier Head.

Cargo Liverpool-004Skevos Paraskeva and his new kitchen buddy, Dino Kotiss

Cargo Restaurant and Bar, sits on the ground floor of  Alexandra Tower, a residential block which construction firm boss Terry Connor and his wife, Angela, had a flat in.

That is when they weren’t living it up in Cyprus. Back home and looking out at those sunsets over Wallasey Town Hall, the pair began to be carried away by calamari dreaming.

Skevos Paraskeva, owner of two restaurants and a man with 30 years experience in kitchens across Europe, was duly persuaded to up sticks from his Limassol home and give Liverpool a go.  The mission: to bring some Mediterranean magic to the shores of the Mersey.

Once here, he was quickly joined by Greek chef Dino Kotiss who jumped ship from Bean Coffee, just over the road.

Last week, the two made a convincing double act when they cooked in a Cargo sneak preview.

Cargo Liverpool-006None of that tin rubbish: Meatballs in a fresh tomato sauce

“I plan to do special chef’s dinners and tables,” Skevos told Liverpool Confidential. “I would like the opportunity to create the best fish and seafood dishes in Liverpool and showcase the best kept secrets of Cyprus cuisine.”

Naturally, he insists, everything, even the rather special garlic pitta bread, is created in Cargo’s virgin kitchen, a former football agent’s office which the Connors say they had been eyeing, so that they might pursue their restaurant signing, “for a good few years”.

Cargo is about “Mediterranean dishes tailored to the English culture”. Some of you will probably love that, but perhaps the more adventurous may wish to swerve the blurb and head straight for dishes nearer to Skevos’s roots.

Cargo Liverpool-008Prawn again crustaceans

The night before the soft launch, Confidential ate from a fixed price, £16.95, three-course tasting menu. Down the middle they had included a decent bottle of plonk.

Olives, tiger prawns, meatballs in a fresh tomato sauce and a whole barbecued baby chicken with Med vegetables gave a hint of what this kitchen crew seem (very) capable of. 

Desserts, such as limoncello cheesecake, are largely supplied by Caroline Hill, whose new L22 shop is doing great guns.

It is the earliest of days and there are plans to open an outdoor terrace, so it seems you no longer have to go all the way to Waterloo for a sunset, or for a cake.

Only time will tell, but if Skevos and Dino’s kitchen act proves a match for the splendid dusk views from the Cargo table, the north may yet rise again.

Cargo Liverpool-013

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