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Dish of the week: Paella Arroz Negro

Black magic afoot as Lunya casts a squid ink spell

Published on October 1st 2012.

Dish of the week: Paella Arroz Negro

Lunya, 18-20 College Lane, Liverpool, Merseyside, L1 3DS. 0151 706 9770.  

£13.95 pp (min two people, and half price on Thursday night).

La Especial?
It most definitely is the special one – and all the more so if you are accustomed to the best things in life being big, black and magic.

Award-winning Lunya's passion for all things Spanish knows few bounds. They don't overly Anglicise their dishes to get timid punters through the door...

 ...Er, hang on, they do a chorizo “scouse”
Well apart from that...

...And chorizo sausage rolls...
Yes, all right. But there's nothing timid about either. This is a kitchen that likes to stick to its guns. For example, they do mackerel semen. And if that's not to your taste, they aren't going to go changing to, say...

 ...some other kind of semen?
Anyway, onto the Arroz Negro. This is one of four paellas gracing the Lunya menu. It's made in exactly the same way as any other seafood paella, but squid ink gives it a dramatic, dark twist.  So nourished and noir-ished.

That's bad even by your standards
Liverpool Confidential's operatives have purchased this twice now, which makes them somewhat suspicious: the obsidian appearance does not have mass appeal, in fact this it the least popular item on the paella menu, says chief worlock Peter Kinsella.

A big wrong that needs righting.


Isn't paella a faff that takes ages to make?
Yes, but you aren't making it, and while you are waiting with your buddies, there's a chance to try a few tapas (£4.95 each or three for £9.75 at lunchtime), washed down with an alcoholic beverage or two or three, or, in our case, none.

Pictured below are a few we had no problem putting away. Some stunningly creamy croquettes, look at that hefty wedge of Spanish tortilla and the big dish of padron peppers with their hot salty taste.

Ahem, I beg you padron?
Catalan scouse with morcilla and chorizo was impressive, the roasted vegetables packed a spicy, meaty punch and calamari a la romana in Cain’s raisin beer batter was as pleasurable and light as the abundance of garlicky aioli it came with.

Onto the main event then
The traditional recipe for this dish, made in Catalonia and Valencia, calls for squid ink, cuttlefish or squid, white rice, garlic, green cubanelle peppers, sweet paprika, olive oil and a seafood broth.

Served in a sizzling hot cast iron paella pan that dangled like a witch's cauldron over the table, the concoction left three of us groaning by the time they cut it down.

We were immediately washed away by the wafting essence of the fruits of the sea. Squid ink gives this flavour of this dish extra power, but it was the dark depth of the fish stock – made from lobster and crab – that swept it to glory.

Plenty of soft squid tentacles to mix with even more of that sweet aioli, and freshly squeezed lemon juice shimmered and hissed over the formidable, bubbling spell. Then as the mist cleared, we left the dark side and emerged in sunny Spain. Ole! you might say.

Groaning, you say?
Well in a good way, like.

And the verdict?
Order your ink today.


Unless otherwise stated, Liverpool Confidential dines out unannounced and we pick up all our own bills.

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

Jonathan WalkerOctober 2nd 2012.

Nobody writes about Paella with more passion and conviction than you do...

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousOctober 3rd 2012.

Agree. Good work

Some like it hotOctober 3rd 2012.

I love this place. The mackerel semen was a bit salty for me

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousOctober 3rd 2012.

Isn't it alwa.......cancel that

TwitcherOctober 3rd 2012.

One swallow doesn't make a summer...

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousOctober 4th 2012.

That's a blow.....

SteveOctober 17th 2012.

seems to a cheeky little restaurant.. wonder would they have a cheeky flamenco playing Irish busker do a few tunes for a feed and a bottle of tempranillo.. which btw is from the region and would go well with the inky heaven..

AnonymousOctober 17th 2012.

We don't mention buskers on here anymore

Barry WilkinsonOctober 22nd 2012.

Even the noisy one that screams daily outside Primemark and hopefully will be shot in the near future ? His Oasis cover's are worse than Oasis covers of the Beatles (early work)

TwitcherOctober 22nd 2012.

Oh no! Is HE back?

Darth FormbyOctober 23rd 2012.

I hate that nasally little twat. His voice is easily the most annoying I have ever heard, and his timing/phrasing is fucking awful. He should be run out of town. On a rail or otherwise.

Elizabeth QuinceOctober 24th 2012.

Does anyone remember the accordion man in the 1970s? I recall how he would ask the excited children to wear a blindfold around Halloween time and they would be asked to fish around his pockets to find the "special apple". He was outside Philip, Son & Nephew I think. Happy times!

Jonathan WalkerMarch 14th 2013.

I think hate is rather a strong word to use. I know that busker. He's a nice lad, and he isn't really hurting anyone...

I think some people need to direct their ire to more deserving causes like the coalition government for starters...

Earache on Church StretMarch 14th 2013.

Yes he is.

He's hurting people's ears, HUNDREDS at a time!

Noise causes ill health.

Jonathan WalkerMarch 15th 2013.

I have missed you Earache...

H. P. SauceMarch 17th 2013.

This howling nuisance was annoying workers near and far yesterday, as I was told by a lady working in the Blue Coat.

It's his narrow repertoire that he repeats over and over again that was the particular complaint.

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