Monday, 23 May 2016


If there are two things that go well together its Tapas and a warm sunny day. Last week in Liverpool as the sun continued to shine over the city, I headed up to Neon Jamon on Berry St with a friend to take advantage of the glorious weather and pretend that I was outside a small cafe on the Mediterranean coast enjoying fine wine and great food. Having opened their new site just over six months ago, had Neon Jamon managed to transfer that taste of Catalonia from it's Smithdown Place branch near Penny Lane to the bustling streets of Liverpool's vibrant, multicultural city centre?

We walked in on a gloriously beautiful Friday afternoon to be greeted by the friendly staff who promptly took us over to our table right in the front of the huge glass windows that face out onto Berry Street. With the sun glaring in through the windows, the temperature certainly matched that of one of the Canary Islands so we were definitely ready to tuck into some cold bottles of cider and delicious plates of tapas. At the time of writing, Neon Jamon are offering a deal for two plates of tapas from a select menu all for just £9. Seemed like an offer too good to refuse so we made our selections and waited eagerly for our late lunch to arrive.

And arrive it did. In what seemed like no time at all we were presented with our selections and first impressions were "Yum!". These slow cooked Iberico pork ribs literally fell off the bones and the meat melted in our mouths. They were marinated in membrillo and sherry vinegar giving the meat a beautiful sweet edge that complimented the stickiness of the honey glaze. All that was missing was some chunks of bread that we could of used to mop up every last drop of the sauce. I've had many a pork rib in my time and Neon Jamon's are totally up there with the best. Lip-smackingly good!

Now remember that these plates were costing us £4.50 each and take a look at these meatballs. Those are some hefty balls. Know as Albondigas, these Spanish beef meatballs were packed with paprika like flavors which give the meatballs a really summery vibe that works in complete harmony with the spicy tomato sauce covering them. They are mighty filling and so four of these boulders were more than enough for the two of us however if you are thinking of going as a foursome I think one each will also suffice. I'm never normally a fan of meatballs but I think Neon Jamon has managed to convert me! I'd love to try making these at home.

Now when I ordered this next dish it was described as chorizo and black pudding.  The chorizo was there, tonnes of it. Cooked perfectly so that it had gone all crispy on the outsides which is how I love chorizo. I was expecting the black pudding to be cooked the same but instead it was all soft and reminiscent of pulled pork in the way it was shredded and placed on top of the sausage. I had never seen or tasted anything like it but I knew I wanted to eat every last bit as it was so tasty. Again, for what is described as a small plate it was massive and an absolute steal for the price. This was a meat lovers paradise and I adored it.

Not that there isn't anything for vegetarians to enjoy too. They can tuck into some amazing meat free tapas and top of the list has to be these manchego and spinach croquettes (or croquettas if we want to keep the Spanish vibes flowing!). Underneath those crispy golden breadcrumbs hid the most fluffy and moist filling. The mixture of the melted manchego with the bechemal sauce working together prevent these spherical bad boys from being dry and stodgy and turn them into gooey balls of yumminess. A big bowl of these by the beach with a glass of sangria, sounds like my idea of heaven.

Now those were the dishes that we got on our two for £9 offer (again I'll say it, a proper bargain!) but there was one additional plate I had my eye on since checking out their Instagram page prior to our arrival. The straw fries. This immense plate of crispy little chippies is totally big enough for two people to share and comes served underneath two perfectly cooked and equally massive fried eggs with the most bright and vibrant orange yolks. Finished off with a sprinkling of paprika and you have a side order of chippies on steroids! Do yourself a favor and make sure you get a portion of these with whatever else you order!

You would of thought after all that delicious Tapas that there would be no room left for dessert. Well that is not true as I couldn't leave without giving the Tarte Dd Santiago a go. I love my bakewell tarts and this traditional cake is it's Spanish cousin. A buttery shortcrust pastry housed a soft almond filling that melted in the mouth whilst the fresh berries added a fruity burst to the proceedings and the gorgeously smooth cream brought everything together into one little plate that is a delight for anyone with a sweet tooth. Obviously it's not as good as my bakewell tart (naturally!) but I'll give them a highly commended for theirs!

However, for those who want to really indulge I've got the dessert for you. Nutella cheesecake. I know people either love or hate Nutella but if you love it then you are actually going to think you have died and gone to heaven. It's described on the menu as rich and I can certainly testify that this is true. The filling sat on top of the biscuit base is super smooth and creamy. You instantly feel naughty upon taking your first bite. The little crunchy bits on top of the cheesecake keep the texture of the dessert interesting whilst some more of those fresh raspberries stop everything just being an overdose of Nutella. A true chocolate lovers delight!

By this point we were well and truly stuffed so it was time to pay our most affordable bill with the delightful staff and head off to enjoy the rest of the fabulous warm evening. The sunny weather seems to be holding out in Liverpool this year so make the most of it whilst you can now that I've jinxed it and get your butts over to Neon Jamon and enjoy some incredible small plates and a delicious cold beer. Without jumping on a plane at John Lennon airport, it's the nearest thing a scouse senor or senorita can get to the Med!

Head on over to Neon Jamon's website and book yourself a table and remember to check if the two for £9 lunch offer is still on before you book if your planning a lunchtime/early evening nibble. Ole!

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