The Mediterranean is not what it was. But the branding, that’s pretty watertight. So what if the weak force of the ambre solaire-slicked tide laps against shores polluted with Brits sleeping off a heavy one. So what if the over-fished depths offer an ever decreasing catch, and the shores of its southern nations are lined not with idyllic artists’ communes but citizens clashing with brutal regimes, demanding democracy, liberty and equality.
Yes, the Mediterranean isn’t what it was. So, perhaps, for now, you’re better off in Whitechapel.
For here, civilization is, at least on SevenStreets’ visit, is alive and well – and served with a crisp Pinot Grigio and Lamb Kleftiko. This is the Mediterranean we dream of escaping to. Honest, fresh food, gluggable wines, amiable, easygoing waiters. No pretension. No pretence.
Blending the cuisines of Italy and Greece, with some Arabic and Spanish flourishes here and there, Sofrito offers a coast to coast Grand Voyage, but without having all that horrid fuss of having to, you know, go overland from Civitavecchia to Rome. Such a nuisance.
The point, of course, is that – like everything in life, there are two sides to the Med. It really isn’t all Benidorm, banana boats and blistered shoulders. Spend a little time heading off the beaten track, and there are still delights to discover.
Which is why, for those prepared to experience a Mediterranean that’s a little more authentic than the package holidays, or the package food on offer at certain Liverpool ONE establishments, Sofritos is becoming an essential port of call. And like a hidden cove over the headland, this is all just five minutes in the other direction (oh, ok, it’s just past the bus gyratory. There, that’s ruined the moment for you, hasn’t it?)
When SevenStreets called, Sofritos felt every bit the family trattoria – with gaggling groups of families, gossiping old women, canoodling youngsters and, well, us, tucking into hearty plates of meat balls, steak frittes (with, let us tell you, the fattest, juiciest rump this side of Silvio Berlusconi’s PA), chicken supreme with chorizo and sun dried tomatoes, and vibrant asparagus risotto. The only un-authentic note? We were served promptly. If this had, really, been Greece, we’d still be waiting for our mains.
We’d say go, but, then, we’d worry that you’d attract the wrong type. And then where would we be?
51/53 White Chapel
Tel: 0151 236 0411