We visited the latest opening from the Salt House group for lunch during the sunny Easter break. Salt House Bacaro serves up Italian inspired small plates and is situated a couple of doors away from San Carlo on Castle Street. The area is like a mini Italian town with Olive and Piccolinos also in close proximity. The restaurant fills the Italian small plates void left since the closure of Pesto in Liverpool One.
The décor has a warehouse/factory feel which seems to be bog standard these days and is similar to Artisan in Manchester and Byron Liverpool in terms of tone and atmosphere. We are fans of Salt House Tapas from the same group which serves up the Spanish equivalent if you never guessed from the name. Being lunch we decided to order a few dishes from the set lunch menu and some from the a la carte. The lunch deal is 3 small plates from a set menu similar to Salt House Tapas but minus the bread.
The main menu has a varied mix of cichetti, charcuterie, pizzettes, fish, meat and veg dishes. The star dishes for us were sautéed langoustines with frigola pasta, saffron cream & tomato and Stornoway black pudding with sautéed chicken livers, caramelised onions & marsala wine. The number of langoustines was generous and the saffron cream complemented the subtle sweet langoustines well. In contrast the black pudding and chicken liver dish was much richer but the big bold flavours worked well with the sweetness of the onions cutting through the heaviness. Definitely a sharing dish due to its richness.
Grilled king scallop with garlic & parsley butter was a simple dish but well executed, not much can go wrong really as long as the produce is fresh. Roasted monkfish with white bean & pancetta cassoulet was a little safe with the bean cassoulet not really adding much to the firmly cooked fish.
From the charcuterie section we chose the board of Copa de Parma ham, bresaola & fennel salami. A generous serving of simple good quality cured meats.
From the set lunch menu we had the Nduju sausage, tomato and mozzarella pizzette which we were warned carried a chilli kick. This proved the case for Mrs Nom but I felt it needed more Nudju, but the pizette was cooked just right with a balanced amount of sweet tomato and mozzarella.
Our other selections from the set menu were pan fried seabass with pepperonata and salsa verde and steam mussels with cream and tarragon. The fillet of seabass was a good size with a crispy skin, however I’m not sure if I am a fan of pepperonata which was a little bitter for my taste. The small bowl of mussels was probably the weakest dish of the meal. The mussel meat themselves were some of the smallest we have seen and the portion size was stingy even for small plates.
Early days yet but Salt House Bacaro has a lot of potential and is another welcome addition to the Liverpool dining scene.