Portland St. 358, Liverpool
Would you visit a place that does pizza fries? We reckon you definitely, definitely should
New eateries are popping up all over Liverpool lately, so you'll have to forgive us for neglecting to pay a visit to Portland St. 358, on Smithdown Road, earlier. We've been aware of its existence for a while but it's a little outside our usual haunts, so it just sort of fell off the list.
Two words: pizza fries.
So, off we go. It's not exactly peak time and we bag a table easily, though it's not hard to imagine it'll be quite a squeeze come busy periods.
The menu isn't huge; a reassuring sign for all the Kitchen Nightmares fans out there. Far better for a chef to hone a few dishes than cook dozens poorly. Despite the size of the menu, there's a fair amount of non-meat options, which is a welcome discovery for vegetarians.
In the end I opt for the Eastern burger – chickpea and pepper spiced patty, topped with melted cheese and mixed bean salsa for £7, and a side of the margherita pizza fries, which come with melted cheese, cherry tomatoes and basil.
Even without trying the entire menu, it's safe to say pizza fries are what Portland St. 358 would be remembered for if it were suddenly to vanish from Liverpool. That's not to say the burger isn't good. It's just hard to beat a winning combination of carbs, cheese and tomatoes.
My partner also chooses the pizza fries, but his are loaded with meat. For the main, he orders the Porky's burger: two burger patties, sticky chilli barbecue pulled pork, bacon and chorizo (£8). Faux-pas or not, he forced to use a knife and fork to eat it, a indication of success for any dirty burger worth its name.
If the idea of yet another patty and bun-based meal fills you with disdain, then the various bunny chow options are a great choice. If you're unfamiliar with bunny chow, it's basically a hollowed out loaf filled with something delicious. Portland St. 358 offer five different fillings, including Mex beef bunny with beef chilli, garlic cream and chopped coriander, or the wonderful goat's cheese bunny, with chillies, garlic, mushroom, spinach and goat's cheese (both £8). I consider myself a bit of a bunny chow connoisseur and this is one of the better ones in the city.
When it comes to drinks, there's plenty on offer, for teetotallers and boozehounds alike: cocktails, beers and wines as well as milkshakes, soft drinks and coffees. The bourbon coke float is definitely worth trying, even if it's just an excuse to combine dessert and alcohol in one sitting. The cocktail menu has us like kids in a sweet shop: I eventually decide on an A.M Spritz – Chase marmalade vodka, Aperol, marmalade, lemon juice and Prosecco. It's moreish to the point that I have to order another two. My partner chooses the Blueberry and Maple Mash, a fantastic mix of fresh blueberries, maple syrup and Havana seven year old rum. At £6 a pop for the cocktails it's worth trying a few to find out your favourite.
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