Really, Revolution (Temple Court) doesn’t have to try too hard. It’s opposite Smokey Mo’s, Moniques and a club with the legend ‘where imagination and enjoyment have no boundaries’. It’s the last post of relative sanity in an increasingly feral Cavern Quarter.
And yet the made-in-Liverpool vodka chain has had the 60 minute makeover team in (oh, ok, the £200,000 makeover team in). It’s added jaunty honeycomb shelving, back lit glass cabinets filled with jewel-like bottles of candy coloured vodka, statement lighting and squishy chairs. And it’s upped its game in the restaurant too.
Revolution’s kitchen’s always been better than you’d expect. But, then, this is a chain that’s never less than shrewd – reigniting the vodka market with its cheekily flavoured Tooty Fruitie and chilli vodka shots, knocked back to a soundtrack of Spice Girls and Euro 96. Ah, the good old days.
But now the globe-trotting menu features crispy crumb of the moment, panko (it’s basically a Japanese bread crumb) coating plump chicken strips and sweet potato and smoky chorizo croquettes. And, on a Monday night, the place was buzzing (might have something to do with the place offering half price on everything on Mondays.)
But here’s what I liked about Revolution. It knows what it is. Not all the dishes are – probably – made from first principles in the kitchen. The chips are McCains catering. But who cares, this is a bar – a bar that serves food, really decent food, at great prices. And isn’t, even glancingly, up its own arse.
As our friends at Camp and Furnace prepare for a burger duke out with Almost Famous this Friday, under the banner: What’s Your F**kin’ Beef? (tiresome, yeah, but at least it’ll keep the kids from littering the pavement outside Londis), Revolution eschews the mannered and the try-too-hard school of social media shouting, and just gets on with the job.
So, we had sweet potato wedges that were charred on the outside, moist and melting in the middle – they, finally, convinced me that, yeah, there is something about a sweet potato. Not enough, admittedly, to end my relationship with King Edward, but enough to persuade me to think about an elicit starchy carb fling.
We had Chicken Katsu curry that was served with a fruity curry sauce every bit as good as you’d get at your local chippy (yeah, that good) and a mound of really rather exuberant salad. We had sharing plates of hearty tapas, and icy copper mugs of whisky sours and long island ice teas – just so you know, the cocktails here are better than that other place you go to.
But here’s the thing. We tested the kitchen good and proper and went for a medium rare rump steak. And it was bloody (bloody) fantastic. Tender, juicy, lean and peppery. A good steak is hard to find. We found it. And, again, Revolution surprised us. In a good way.
The new menu’s making its way around town – and, no doubt the zillions of other Revolutions, because, yes, this is a chain. But not all chains phone it in. On our evidence, Revolution is still hungry.
We left, a ridiculously amazing chocolate fondue later, stuffed to f***.
2 Temple Court.