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Liquorice Reviewed

Jonathan Schofield finds good pasta down the alley

Written by . Published on March 27th 2013.

Liquorice Reviewed

YEA, yea, there are too many Italian-themed places in the city centre, everyone knows it. At Confidential we've even come up with an expression for the relentless rise of the Pasta Boys: YAFI, Yet Another (excuse the language) Fucking Italian. 

I need to come out over this. I love peas. All of them. I can even snack on Birds Eye frozen peas straight from freezer and straight from the bag still covered in ice. Very refreshing on hot summer days.

Liquorice, offering Italian/Mediterranean food, on Pall Mall, off King Street, was formerly Destinos. The name change came about when the proprietors decided to transform Liquorice into a neighbourhood bar for the business district of food, fine cocktails, spirits and wines. The design of the space suits the latter idea, it's smart, understated, comfortable. 


The menu has dips, skewers, pizzas, pasta, 'hand-rolled' meatballs, dough balls, salads. The sort of fast and easy food that a small kitchen can deliver without too many people stabbing each other because they can't manoeuvre. 

Doughballs and mad garlic butterDoughballs and mad garlic butter

I had penne pasta (£7.45 - main picture at the top of the page) with salmon, spinach, peas and a creamy sauce. It was delicious. This was a trim hymn to juicy, lusty elements in a double-fist sized portion. The bitter punch of the spinach made friends with the soft salmon and the peas were an addition that lifted the whole. 

Delivery vehicle for pea restaurantFuture pea delivery vehicleI need to come out over this.

I love peas. All varieties of them. I can even snack on Birds Eye frozen peas straight from the freezer and straight from the bag and still covered in ice. Very refreshing on hot summer days.

Are there any venture capitalists out there who want to open a pea-based restaurant?

In the Liquorice dish the peas not only brought flavour but gave variety to the texture. I'm fairly sure they weren't Birds Eye. In a weird way they made the dish.

The pizza was almost as good. The sweet chilli chicken on a proper wafer-thin base was full-on; laden with chicken, mozzarella, spring onion, pesto infusions and a very decent fiery sauce and cost £7.95.

If you like pizzas try this place out it's as good as anywhere in the city. 

Sweet chilli chickenSweet chilli chicken pizza

The dough balls maintained the fun with garlic butter so strong one sneeze would destroy all the characters in Twilight, Dracula and Count Duckula. It worked a treat. The strength of the mix, its oral viciousness, might have lifted off the back of your skull but felt invigorating. 


A glass of cool and sharp Sauvignon Blancs - Vina Edmara from Chile, £7.20 per £2.50ml glass - complemented the food. If I'd gone for the £3.95 house offering then I might even have scraped in under the tenner mark and thus shoe-horned Liquorice into our forthcoming Cheap Eats article.

Given the buzz about the place on a lunchtime, appreciation seems to be building. I liked Liquorice, found it a happy little space with food that doesn't break the bank but delivers in skill and flavour. 

You can follow Jonathan Schofield on Twitter here@JonathSchofield or connect via Google+


Liquorice Bar, 50 Pall Mall, Off King Street, City. M2 1AQ 

Rating: 14.5/20 

Food: 7.5/10 (salmon pasta 8, pizza 7.5, dough balls, garlic butter 7) 
Service: 4/5
Ambience: 3/

PLEASE NOTE: Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes. Following on from this the scores represent: 1-5 saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9 get a DVD, 10-11 if you must, 12-13 if you’re passing,14-15 worth a trip,16-17 very good, 17-18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. More than 20, we get carried away.

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17 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

FloMarch 27th 2013.

£7.20 per glass! We're paying you too much!

1 Response: Reply To This...
CraigMarch 27th 2013.

Ah but the food was only £7 or so. Maybe he was prioritising his budgeting regime carefully

Swiss JamesMarch 27th 2013.

"£7.20 per £2.50ml glass" - Freudian slip?

AnonymousMarch 27th 2013.

I live in Manchester and have lived in London and think here in Manchester we have a great dining scene with some very good restaurant options. I'm sure the people who own this place are very nice as I'm sure the food is fine and I've not eaten at the place so I shouldn't really criticise. But....but....where's the concern with ingredients and provenance. Ok, we have Chicceti but where is our River Cafe, or our Bocca Di Lupo? Would Italians recognise this food as being Italian?

AnonymousMarch 27th 2013.

Italians don't eat Italian food in England..they go to Italy for that as on the whole its aimed at an audience who live over here. You can try and cook a Fritto Misto exactly how it is in Italy..but without the sun the sea the sand (and the women) it will never be the same. Italian food has always had to adapt, and I don't see why/how that can change.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Paul CarterMarch 28th 2013.


Jo NightingaleMarch 28th 2013.

This was great when it was Destino's, if it's still owned by the same people I'll give into another go. The Italian offer in Manchester does seem to be improving, I was on Liverpool Rd last night and was spoiled for choice between Per Tutti and Don Marco.

Peter JohnstonMarch 28th 2013.

If you are serious about coming out on the pea issue, can i recommend the Peasenhall Pea Festival .
this takes place on 14th July in Peasenall Suffolk and is a celebration of the small green delights

Mark.March 28th 2013.


AnonymousMarch 29th 2013.

I've often thought there was a gap in the market for a Beatles themed pea based restaurant in Liverpool's Matthew Street. I'd call it Please Peas Me. Oh yeah.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Johnny HistoryMarch 29th 2013.

If only Chamberlain hadn't been guilty of appeasement before WW2

AnonymousMarch 29th 2013.

It'd be between The Instant Korma curry house and Here Comes The Bun bakery.

Jonathan SchofieldMarch 29th 2013.

Peater that's great news about Peasenall Pea Festival. Going to be jumping in my pea mobile straight away.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
DavidMarch 29th 2013.

Where is your Leese interview?.Or at least where is your explanation?.You have offered no explanation for the non appearance of the article that you have been promising for months.Do you just expect people to forget about it?.

AnonymousApril 1st 2013.

David you are the new "Manc Guy". Or the original "Manc Guy". Get a new obsession.

James SmithMarch 31st 2013.

You are talking about a supposed Italian and eat a sweet chili chicken pizza?!! Maybe next time you review somewhere go for the authentic local deep fried thai garlic chicken hamburger bahji kebab hotpot, served with rice and chips.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Jonathan SchofieldMarch 31st 2013.

Good idea James

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