Delifonseca is wonderful last-chance saloon for the clueless gift-giver. The downstairs deli on Stanley Street offers wonderful ingredients that make great gifts – and are great for picking up a key ingredient or two for dinner on the way home.
Or, alternatively, it’s a great destination for for a pleasant, unfussy and affordable tea after work. We took an out-of-town client out for lunch there recently and they were very pleased with the refined American diner-style ambiance, food and wide selection of excellent beer from local breweries served by accommodating host Angus (too accommodating in the end; the 9am meeting the next day is lost to the mists of time). Just knowing it’s there is comforting.
We were there again recently, on a fairly quiet weekday night with a group of three. As ever there were so many great-sounding dishes on the wide-ranging specials menu we were spoiled for choice, but we went for a chicken katsu with asian greens (pictured, above) in the end. Sometimes you’re entitled to bypass the ox cheeks and go for something familiar and comforting.
Wagamamma’s chicken katsu is a kind-of guilty pleasure. The classic iteration is a chicken breast breadcrumbed and fried, presented with something fairly close to a chip-shop curry sauce. It’s a meal to enjoy in the same way that you would a chippie, a pizza or even a takeaway kebab and costs somewhere in the region of eight quid.
Delifonseca’s is rather different, swapping a chicken breast for two legs with some tasty, brown meat wrapped in tasty, crispy breadcrumbs. There are some rather droopy green veg on the side, some boiled rice and a splash of fruity curry sauce. There’s not a lot to it and at £11.95 it feels, frankly, like very poor value for money.
We also have a salmon fillet with mussels in a veloute (also £11.95, pictured, left), which is overcooked and comes with a watery sauce that our dining partner constantly cracks her teeth on – there are shards of shell in it. It didn’t come with any bread for the thin sauce so some bread and oil costs at £3.25. £3.25!
Luckily the third meal – herby fishcakes (£9.95), an old stand-by – were very nice; well-balanced flavours, plenty of fish and nicely cooked with some lovely chips. As ever the service was good and the choice of beer probably the best in any Liverpool restaurant.
We very much like Delifonseca – and we’ll go back again because we know that it’s capable of excellent food; the Po’ Boys are among the best meals it’s possible to eat in Liverpool. Funnily enough we’ve never had a bad meal at Delifonseca Dockside; but the Stanley Street restaurants has had a couple of off days when we’ve been.
Any restaurant can have an off-day, but at high prices for rather mean, cheap meals the latitude for getting it wrong narrows. We’ll be back to Delifonseca again – and again, beause we’re glad it’s there. Maybe next time we’ll stick what we know though – and order those Po’ Boys with our Shipwreck IPA.