For a staunch Evertonian, this assignment to check out The Bastion Bar and Restaurant, situated in the hub of Liverpool’s Shankly Hotel, posed a moral and sporting dilemma. How on earth would I feel comfortable sitting down to a three course meal, with memorabilia and portraits of the great Scotsman and bonafide legend bearing down on me? Luckily, I had no real need to be anxious in the slightest…
The Bastion, as a space, has a lovely feel to it. It achieves the rare feat of feeling “high end” but relaxing at the same time. The staff are all uniformed, approachable and professional. It feels good being there, which I suppose, is more than half the battle in any dining experience. So far so good; but what about the food?
Myself and my fellow gastronaut buckled up and proceeded on our mission de cuisine, and, as is my tendency, I take my guidance from the staff. So we started with the pressing of confit duck leg and chicken, and the wild mushroom hache: both were truly excellent. Confit de Canard is seen as one of the gleaming jewels in the crown of French gastronomy, but it can be quite easily spoilt by being over salted. Not so with this dish, as it was beautifully balanced by the exquisite pineapple jam and ciabatta toast. And the wild mushroom hache was just what is said it would be: mushrooms minced and formed into a circular pate that was a true delight to the palette of this mushroom connoisseur. Again, perfectly balanced with the brioche and the tasty ducks egg. And
it looked just as good as it tasted.
Our mains were the recommended slow braised lamb shoulder, and the pan roasted chicken breast. And again, as you can see from the pictures, the presentation was impeccable. The lamb was so tender, with a subtle peppery hint to it, and the rosemary and garlic mash was extremely light and pleasing. The fried Savoy cabbage, pomegranate and smoked pancetta beautifully circumvented the meat, producing an extremely satisfying dish. My pan roasted chicken again was skilfully executed, and I had no quibbles what so ever with the smoked onion, duck fat potatoes and buttered leaks that accompanied it. The portion size of both meals was just about right, satisfying its individual remit in a three course experience.
Last, but certainly not least, came the (again) recommended the dark chocolate fondant and the red berry cheesecake. Now, if you like chocolate, this fondant is an absolute must. Beautifully rich, the chocolate is accompanied by again a luxurious icebreaker and cinder-toffee honeycomb. Very more-ish. The red berry cheesecake was also fantastic, enough to resuscitate the most jaded of palettes. However, I do expect my cheesecake to have a base, which this did not. I suppose the term should be “de-constructed” cheesecake…..To round off any good meal, a very good coffee is required, and The Bastion do not let you down with this also. They serve very, very, good coffee.
Again, its almost boring to bang on about it, but the standard of cuisine in Liverpool today is light years away from the fare being served up in The Eighties. The Bastion rightly takes its place with the upper echelons of Liverpool gastronomy. The food is tasty, looks fantastic, and the service is efficient, caring and warm. Many thanks to all the staff, but in particular John, Nicole, Joel and Mo. The great man once said: “If you are first you are first. If you are second, you are nothing”.
And that’s the kind of attitude that will see The Shankly Hotel, and The Bastion in particular, grow from strength to strength. Build the team. That’s what the iconic Scotsman did. The rest is history.
To find out more and book a table visit the official Shankly Hotel website