26 Nov Oktopus
Every once in a while it’s nice to go somewhere a little bit special on your dinner break. It’s handy then, that Oktopus lies within a few minutes walk from the Phil. The concept is simple seasonal food focussing on local ingredients. Sounds good to me! The menu has a combination of small and large plates designed for sharing, the suggestion being five plates for two people.
A month or so ago they were promoting a pre-show menu, however I think this has disappeared as we didn’t have that option. We arrived at 5.30pm on a Thursday and we were the only diners so perhaps that explains it. Not a massive early dinner crowd which worked for us as we did have a concert that night. We started off with some sourdough from the Wild Loaf (handily next door). This comes served with beer butter, rich in malt. If you can resist eating all the bread in one go to save space, I’d advise that but this is a classic ‘do as I say not as I do’ situation 😀
Our first main was a chicken terrine. As you can see from the menu, the plates are listed in size with price going up accordingly. Despite that, this was a decent slab of terrine. Instead of being made up of flakes of meat, this was more in thick layers divided by strips of prosciutto. It was wrapped in cabbage leaves which held the terrine together instead of excess jelly, therefore it had a meatier texture which brought out the succulence of the chicken. Curried chutney accompanied this, full of onions, nigella seeds and a hint of cinnamon. Extremely tasty piled on top of toast!
Next was my favourite dish – squid with pancetta, fennel and chickpeas. This reminded me of a Spanish chickpea stew. The squid was perfectly cooked, and almost sweet against the smokey pancetta while the tomatoey chickpeas added soft creamy bulk to the plate. Perfectly balanced and even better with lemon squeezed on top.
Now the plates start getting massive, not that that’s a bad thing! A huge piece of pork belly on top of a bed of green lentils dotted with salsa verde appeared. The fat had been wonderfully rendered into golden crackling. Dark roasted beetroot added earthiness which I could have had more of alongside the rich, almost nutty tasting meat. Similarly the salsa verde could have had more bite as a contrast, but these are super picky details as it was extremely tasty.
Our waiter had suggested five dishes but we were happily full at this point, so four would suffice, especially on a performance day! We ploughed onwards with the whole baked sea bream, drenched in harissa butter and served with Bintje potatoes. This looks incredibly celebratory with tones of gold and bright pepper red. The fish was cooked beautifully, soft and flaky. If you’re wondering what Bintje potatoes are, it turns out they’re a variety originally bred in the Netherlands in the early 1900s. They were prepared in large chunks, slightly fluffy inside and added a touch of sweetness to the well seasoned fish.
I had a great time at Oktopus, the food is well thought through. The tastes are clean and unfussy. Staff are very friendly and it’s good fun being able to watch them plating up in the open kitchen. Considering we had five quality dishes, £25 each is good value in my book. Obviously this isn’t an everyday affair but is great when you want to treat yourself without breaking the bank. We didn’t have any drinks as it was a working night so there is that to bear in mind. If you go after a matinee you could test out their selection of beers from Black Lodge Brewing, a local brewery down in the Baltic Triangle. Oktopus also happen to be doing a third collaboration with R&H Fine Wines, an independent Liverpudlian wine merchants. Keep an eye on their events as it could be a great way to find new local food businesses.
Let me know if you’ve been to or are planning to go to Oktopus. You can use #minnsmunchtime and follow me for my latest foodie and music adventures Give this post a like if you enjoyed it and I’ll be back next week! ???
Total receipt (2 people): £50.20
1x Wild Loaf 3.2
1x Chicken Terrine 8
1x Squid 9
1x Pork Belly 14
1x Sea Bream 16