What makes a good starter, or an enticing entree? Something that more than amuses the buche. Nothing too indulgent, no haughty hors d’oeuvres, just a simple expression of a kitchen on top of its game. Here, then, are our top ten starters in the city, including our favourite, from the recently-awarded Restaurant of the Year, courtesy of the Good Food Guide, Delifonseca Dockside. Huge congratulations to Candice and the team. Well deserved!
1. Delifonseca: Better Than Carpaccio, £6.45 Stanley Street/Brunswick Dock
“Better Than Carpaccio’ has always been one of our most popular starters” says Delifonseca’s Candice Fonseca, “I think it works as it’s a simple combination of lovely products that complement each other perfectly. Clearly the base of the dish is the thinly sliced beautifully rare Welsh Black Beef but by adding the classic Italian flavours of fresh rocket, 24-month cave-aged parmesan and a drizzle of our basil-infused extra virgin olive oil raises it to another level.
“It packs a lot of flavour but doesn’t will you up with carbs or fat so that you have plenty of room to enjoy the rest of your meal.”
2. Salthouse Tapas: Sauteed baby chorizo with orange blossom honey, £4.95
Plump Spanish sausages, drizzled with sweet and sticky honey, and utterly delicious.
3. Etsu: Selection of chef’s sushi. 12 piece set 6 nigiri and 6 maki rolls. £11.95 Beetham Plaza
4. Home Canteen: Smoked haddock ‘rarebit’, grain mustard, £6.50 Beetham Plaza
“This is one of our favourite starters,” says Adam McEvatt, Restaurant Manager, “it’s a comforting new take on a British classic, which is what Home Canteen is all about, really.”
5. Camp and Furnace: Crispy baby squid, maple and red wine chorizo, hot smoked tomatoes, parsley. £6.50 Greenland Street
6. Il Forno: Calamari Ripieni servito su crema di Zucchine, £7.35 Duke Street
Stuffed squid with eggs, garlic, parsley, cherry tomato and a cream of courgette sauce
7. Italian club fish: Carpaccio Di Tonnu, £7.95, Bold Street
‘The Carpaccio Di Tonnu’ is one of our most popular starters because of its honesty and simplicity.” says Italian Club Fish’s Andrew Ewing. “It allows the full and natural flavour and texture of the very best slices of tuna to be fully appreciated.”
8. Cafe Porto: Salt Cod Fishcakes, £5.95, Rodney Street
“Salting the fish (in this case, cod) is an ancient process of keeping and preserving food, in a time where there were no fridges or freezers,” says Cafe Porto’s Pedro Almeida. “It was very important in the past, to enable fish arrive into the interior of Portugal, and also in Religious times of fasting it was a great substitute to meat.”
“After soaking it in running water for 24 hours, the cod is ready to be prepared in the 1,000 ways that we do in Portugal. After the salting process, the Cod will never be the same. In texture and in flavour. You have to have a Dao Red or an Alvarinho with it. And the corn bread…hmmm… delicious!”
9. Peninsula Dining Rooms: Stilton Cheesecake, £6.75 Grosvenor Road, New Brighton
“Stilton cheesecake with chilli and apple jelly and mizuna microcress (mizuna has a light mustard flavour). People like it because it’s nice and light for a starter, and it’s also something a bit different to the usual things you see on a starters menu,” says Peninsula’s Gavin Scott
10. Nolita Cantina: Baby Corndog, £3.50 Bold Street
Baby corndogs with spicy ketchup and American mustard.