Time was that SevenStreets would frequent the Tavern Company in Smithdown Road two or three times a week. It made a relaxed drinking establishment and the food was always tasty and affordable; as a result the place was always rammed.

The food has always consisted of simple dishes like all the usual Mexican stand-bys with Creole dishes and a few additions like halloumi and catfish to flesh it out a bit.

SevenStreets has probably tried them all over the year – at a guess the majority, if not all, of the menu has remained identical for well over a decade now.

Generally the Tavern Co pulls off simple, hearty, filling dishes bursting with flavour and spices and offers a good wine list and convivial atmosphere. Simple pleasures, but important ones – and the reason why we’ve returned again and again.

However, the visits became a little less frequent over the years, as both iterations of the Tavern – the Smithdown Road branch and the Queens Square outfit – turned in occasional off days that became less occasional.

But the memory of times past drew us back again recently, for a family meal the likes of which we used to enjoy when the cajun chicken sandwich for a fiver used to tempt us.

It was, as it usually is, a decent meal that everyone seemed to enjoy. SevenStreets had a fried swordfish with jalapeno mushy peas (mushy peas with sliced jalapenos on top). It was pretty bland stuff, something the Tavern never used to be, though it was still decent value for money.

But the Tavern used to make a virtue out of doing the basics right, and doing them for very little cash. Back then there was no Liverpool One and the likes of Allerton Road and Lark Lane had yet to explode with loads of other restaurants offering decent food at decent prices.

There are now dozens of foodie places that serve up the same formula. Is the Tavern different enough to keep people coming back – and are they coming back for the memories rather than the food?

Tough call, but the Tavern’s excellent surroundings and laid-back atmosphere are reasons enough to keep giving it another go. Maybe that menu could do with a mild refresh, though. And the food never seems quite as good as it used to be. Or are we just remembering, as with so many things, with rose-coloured glasses?

The Tavern Company
621 Smithdown Road
4 Queen’s Square

  • Al

    Always been a favourite of mine. Though these days I could recite the menu to you in Latin…

  • David

    Always suspected you were a touch bilingual, Al

  • Mike

    Is the Tavern as good as it used to be? How good was it really? I think it was a case of it standing out at a time when people didn’t necessarily expect burrito on the menu.

    Having said that, I’ll be forever indebted to the place for introducing me to the haloumi burger!

  • Stephanie

    The Tavern is best visited on a Sunday morning. Our family have gone most weeks for about 6 years now and it’s still amazing food, lovely service and the best way to see off a hangover. Tavern breakfasts have yet to be beaten.

  • Rachel

    In my experience, the Queen Square branch started to slip first; the last time I ate there was well over a year ago and the food was decidedly average. It wasn’t enough to make me want to go back.

    Smithdown Road’s branch has stayed reliable and we take people visiting from out of town. It could do with a menu revamp since there is more competition on the burrito front. While it’s good for weekend breakfast/brunch, it could stand a few new additions to that menu too.

  • steve

    so dissapointed with my visit to this restaurant I went with my sons age 16 and 20 who were equally unimpresssed I think they have slipped enourmously in quality, they need to sack the microwave and the frozen chips had the most
    unappealing steak fajitas very small pieces of over cooked steak that you had to delve for under a mush of onion and peppers I could do better with an El Paso kit , and I dont know what they have done to the rice its was an overcooked microwaved dollop of stodge and was more like rice pudding with mushrooms in it ,and the portions of the dressings are minute , my sons were equally as critical and we all felt everything had been dinged in the microwave the only thing they seemed to get right was the side salad but then that doesnt require cooking definetly wont be going here again unless things change dramitically the waitress did ask if we had enjoyed our meal to which we all replied no either she thought we were joking or wasnt listening as our dissatssisfaction didnt seem to register with her at all ,my advice sack the microwave and get a proper chef f