Review: Veg Out at Delifonesca

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We’ve got a guest blogger today … Let us introduce you to Joe Norman. He’s a Liverpool based journalist and has been a card-carrying vegetarian for more than 20 years. Joe’s been out and about in his home town and reports back on a vegetarian theme evening which leaves you wanting to lick the plate …

Delifonseca’s a deli that’s also home to a relaxed, informal restaurant. The upstairs room’s softly lit, with ancient stripped floor boards, American diner-style booths and an ever-changing menu chalked up on blackboards that take up an entire wall.

For over a year they’ve been putting on a monthly vegetarian night – Veg Out. They’re often seasonal – September’s was a root vegetable special – or have some kind of theme; a particular favourite was their vegan Spanish night – which included a sublime artichoke paella.

February’s Veg Out was based around Italian comfort food in a bid to beat off the winter blues. For starters there was a butternut squash risotto impressively topped with freshly made squash crisps and deep fried sage to offer contrasting textures. The risotto itself was smooth and creamy and was swiftly despatched, in fact I enjoyed it so much I ended up surreptitiously running my finger around the inside of the empty bowl to minimise wastage!

JoeDeli

Next up, pan-fried potato gnocchi, although in truth fried potato cakes would probably be a better description, but let’s not quibble – fried potato, what’s not to like? The cakes, sorry gnocchi, were crispy and golden on the outside, velvety and laced with chipotle within, and served with roast mushrooms and aubergine caviar.

Finally for pudding – a Jaffa Cake-style cheesecake, with a biscuit base chilled, rather than baked, flavoured with orange zest and topped with a show-stealing chocolate and orange sorbet. Like all the best puddings it was generous and rich – and almost, almost got the better of us.

February’s Veg Out was very like the others we’ve been to. The food was imaginative but not pretentious or poncey, indulgent without being over-reliant on dairy, and full of big punchy flavours. At over £23 per head it’s not especially cheap, but it was value for money. Hopefully other restaurants will follow Delifonseca’s lead and treat the veggie option as a challenge and not a chore.

Delifonseca
12 Stanley Street
Liverpool
L1 6AF
Tel: 0151 255 0808
http://www.delifonseca.co.uk/

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