Wednesday 7 October 2015

Nolita Cantina, Liverpool

Nolita Cantina, Liverpool
I love Mexican food; the bits, the heat, the shedload of cheese, the gloppy sauces and tangy salsas. Love it. Nachos drenched in liquid cheese have to be one of my favourite things in the whole wide world. It's the kind of food that's best shared with your mates alongside a few cocktails or bottles of craft beer. So that's what we did.

We found Nolita Cantina in Liverpool when searching for a suitable pre-gig, face-stuffing establishment. The menu looked pretty good, so after a quick peep inside, we decided to give it a shot. Drinks were offered, and arrived promptly, and then came the horrific task of picking starters. I think we ordered everything on the menu bar one, which in hindsight I'm thinking we really should have got!

Sam Adams Boston Lager - 4.9% something half decent on draught, and came in an impressive glass.
Flying Dog Doggie Style Pale Ale - 5.5% notice any similarities to the restaurant logo? All the cool kids seem to be using the Flying Dog typeface these days.
Mad Hatter Toxteth IPA - 6.4% a bit stronger but was received well...
Mad Hatter Drink Me Rye Pale Ale - 5.8% a nice change from your standard IPA.
Mystery cocktail- so they didn't do cocktails. Not to worry, our lovely bartender made one up! He uttered those hilarious words... 'do you like gin?' Oh how we chortled. He came back with some sort of gin meets ginger beer and lime wizardry. We'll love him forever. 
House white - we also had a bottle of the house white; a rather tasty Sauvignon Blanc. My only complaint was that it was served in tumblers, which always makes me feel a bit odd. I soldiered on though. 
Nolita Cantina - Drinks
Street Corn - charred skewers of corn with a chilli cheese coating: We left these to Mark as some of the other starters had been contaminated with one of his mortal enemies, tomato. The rest of us were down with the red things so we were happy to let him devour these, which he did. The chilli cheese coating is a brilliant idea.
Nolita Cantina - Corn
Chilli Pops - jalapeño peppers stuffed with cheese, breaded and fried: Jeez Louise, I adored these. Fiery jalapenos stuffed with cheese and deep fried. I can hear the local NHS Trust whimpering. If you go, I must insist you try these. I'll know.
Nolita Cantina - Chilli Pops
Baby Corn Dogs - baby frankfurters coated in a cornmeal batter, fried and striped with american mustard and spiked tomato ketchup: Not a fan of frankfurters; they make me think of abhorrent things involving left over bits. Like I wasn't going to try something that looked this good though? Good lord they were a thing of wonder. The sausage itself isn't an overpowering flavour, but the addition of the corn coating made me feel like I was on Coney Island.
Nolita Cantina - Corn Dogs
Nachos – crisp tortilla chips topped with cheese, spicy beans, salsa, sour cream, guacamole and jalapeño peppers: Nachos; they rock my socks. If they're there, I have to have them. They were beautiful, a real thing to behold. Lots of cheesy aceness with a good dollop of guacamole and beans. The salsa is usually mixed in too, but we got it separate because of Mark's distaste for the devil's fruit.
Nolita Cantina - Nachos
Chicken Wings - Dr. Pepper barbecue sauce: Again, I didn't try these because I generally end up wearing them. Strictly speaking, these are Phil's department. He dealt with them accordingly, with Sarah noting that they were rather large! (I noted 'that's what she said')
Nolita Cantina - Wings
Hush Puppies - small savoury donuts made from cornmeal, beer and cheese, drizzled with blue cheese dressing: Savoury doughnuts... I had to play around with it a bit in my head first. It's a doughnut, yet there is no jam or sugar involved. The verdict? One of the best things I've eaten in some time. A crisp exterior with a soft, fluffy interior, and more cheese.
Nolita Cantina - Hush Puppies
Brie and Bacon Grilled Cheese - Brie, mozzarella, cheddar, crispy bacon and caramelised onions, pressed and grilled: Apologies were offered to the chef for not finishing all of this. In all fairness, we did eat our bodyweight in starters, and I don't think any of us devoured a whole main course. It was genuinely massive, and had all the cheese on it.Nolita Cantina - Grilled Cheese
Hot Mess - single stack burger with cheese, maple bacon peanut popcorn crumb: Sarah and I both opted for the Hot Mess after flirting with several sandwiches. I've had messier burgers (the type you can't even pick up), but in terms of flavour ratio, they had it bang on here. The burger was pink as requested, and the maple bacon and peanut popcorn added an unusual sweetness which was very pleasant indeed. We should have shared as we managed half each. Poor show girls.
Nolita Cantina - Burger
Nolita Cantina - Burger
Brisket in tray gravy Po’ Boy - warm brioche sub, iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, red onion and homemade New Orleans style remoulade: There was no picking this big lad up! Tender brisket topped with everything they had to hand. Bread was abandoned in favour of finishing the filling.
Nolita Cantina - Po Boy
Nolita Cantina was a lovely little find. Quiet and unassuming from outside, but warm and welcoming inside with the loveliest waiter we've met in a while. He even drew us a map of other bars we could try later. Granted, we ended up off piste and landed somewhere else entirely!

There were lots of little restaurants on Bold Street, but I'm really glad we stayed with Nolita. Go here with the type of pals who you can have a laugh with, and who won't mind at all if you have wing sauce and cheese all over your face...

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