Opening up towards the end of last year a mere stones throw away from Moorfields station, The Fat Budgie has now firmly established its home at 60 Dale Street, nesting within the beautiful red and gold Imperial Chambers building. This delightful little bistro takes its name from the title of a whimsical John Lennon poem, and visitors are welcomed into the restaurant by a drawing of the podgy one himself (the budgie!) on their charming little blackboard sign out on the street. My family and I were celebrating my Mum’s birthday with an evening meal and, with this place having been on our radar for some time now, it was time to venture in and see what all the fuss was about.

Anybody upon entering would be instantly struck by the many other charming aspects of this place, whether it be the quirky collection of books by the door, the spiral staircase leading to the main seating area upstairs, or the mixture of vintage advertisements and evocative photographs of a bygone Liverpool which help make up the décor. We were greeted and seated by two of the Budgie’s welcoming staff, Claire and Alan, who both gave us wonderful service with a smile throughout and happily engaged us in some friendly chat about the place.

Decor

We were generously given a few bowls of vegetable crisps to be getting on with as we perused our menus, but choosing our courses from the small selection on offer was still difficult as everything just sounded so good. For starters I was joined by both my Dad and my brother’s girlfriend in sampling the Haggis Scotch Egg with Piccalilli Mayo, whilst my brother opted for the Spicy Crab Cake and Tomato Chutney. My Mum decided to go starter-less in case there wasn’t room for dessert!

Ever the carnivorous bunch, four of us would choose for our mains the Braised Beef Cheek and Celeriac Mash served with Kale, Battered Pickled Onion Rings and resting juices. My Mum went against the grain a second time and opted for the Spiced Pork Belly served with Pickled Cabbage and Glazed Parsnips. Now only time would tell which of us would be the most jealous of the others’ plates.

Haggis Scotch Egg

Haggis Scotch Egg

Thankfully there wasn’t much time to wait at all and before long our starters had arrived. I speak for the others who joined me in the meaty and runny-egged piece of heaven that was the Haggis Scotch Egg – so good I began wishing I was having it for my main as well. The best I could do was chop it up into as many small pieces as possible so that the experience might last that little bit longer. As for the Spicy Crab Cake, equally delicious, and as soft as “cutting through a cloud” was the comment made by my little brother.

Our mains were also delivered in good time and looked absolutely stunning on the plates as they were placed in front of us. The meat fell from the Braised Beef Cheek like it couldn’t wait to be on your fork, succulent and cooked to absolute perfection. It should be noted at this point that there’d been a fair bit of sharing going on since the starters, which enabled me to also sample the Spiced Pork Belly positioned in front of my mother. I was forced to concede that this dish was the pick of the mains, with its gloriously crispy crackling and juicy melt-in-the-mouth meat.

Spiced Pork BellyWe decided to share between us one of each of the desserts on offer and devilishly devoured their Pecan Treacle Tart, Rum ‘Old Fashioned’ Baba, and Chocolate and Orange Mousse. We were all in disagreement about which was the winner, but would all concur that each one was a delight in its own right. Its worth noting that we also had a fair bit to drink along the way, sampling some of their red and white wine, prosecco, and quaint, local beer selection which they had on offer. All of which was fantastic as ever.

It is safe to say the Fat Budgie has been doing a really great job of carving a well- earned quality reputation out for itself, and it offers great value for money with former Puschka chef Paul offering a hearty take on the fine dining experience. I have definite plans to sample their breakfast and lunch menus at some point in the near future as well – but based on the picture I saw of their Sunday Roast on their Twitter account, I might well be returning even sooner than that.

Sean Ferguson