Monday, 26 October 2015


Back out and about in Liverpool last week and upon suggestion from my gig going buddy, we decided to take a trip down to Grilla in Liverpool. Located in the centre of the vibrant Hardman Street area of the city centre, I had never heard of them and neither had any of my work colleagues when I mentioned I was going that day. I was interested then to find out weather I had stumbled across a little hidden gem all for myself so and entered with a little hint of giddy excitement!

We were both first through the door (it was early in fairness!) and were greeted by the friendly staff waiting around the bar area. With the pick of the restaurant we parked on one of the side seats that line the far side of the interior. The decor in Grilla is crisp with white wooden tables with dark wood tops, kind of like what you might get at a Scandinavian holiday home or country kitchen and was most clean and inviting. A few knick knacks dotted around the walls stops things looking too bland and the lighting keeps everything light and informal. At the back of a restaurant is a giant spit roast which I'm sure they must get going during their busier periods and downstairs is a function room which I'm informed will be available to hire in the very near future for parties and functions.

The menu appeared to be a mixture of Greek with a smattering of Swedish thrown in. This might sound like an odd combo but I think it comes from where the owners families originate (or so my friend told me anyway!). Were not talking fusion food here though. There is defiantly a clear line between the Mediterranean (feta and halloumi.) and the Scandinavian (meatballs and lingonberries) but never do they cross paths to form a jumbled mess which can sometimes happen when two cuisines clash.

We were delighted to discover that our early arrival reaped the reward of being able to choose from the early bird menu which at the time of our visit was £9.80 for two courses. Bargain! Other offers are available on other days and locals can also benefit as well from a hearty discount on takeaway meals. In fact a trio lads came in and took advantage of this offer showing that word is beginning to trickle out about Grilla to the student community in the area.

Time for the food. I started with the grilled feta. Having just come back from Sardinia and it's array from amazing cheeses I was worried this wasn't going to live up to it but this was a nice simple but tasty starter. The feta was soft and creamy and cut like butter. and the saltiness of the cheese was complimented by the sweet peppers and herby oil (thyme I believe) that had been grilled in the tin foil parcel. It may look small but it was just enough to leave you wanting more but leave you in anticipation of the next course. Make sure you grab some of the delicious wholemeal bread that was served on our table to pop up all that oil!

My buddy also went cheesy with her choice of grilled halloumi. You always run the risk with poorly cooked halloumi that will come out squeaky and tasting like rubber but no worries here. The beautifully charred pieces of halloumi were soft and the char gave each slab a nice BBQ flavor which added a fabulous punch of flavor to what can sometime be considered a rather bland cheese. The tomatoes and salad are slightly redundant and only appear there to look pretty I think but overall, as with the feta, there was enough to get your taste buds going. So far, so good!

Lets take a look at the mains. We both decided to try Grilla out on both their selling points, the touch of Sweden and the meat straight from the spit. My buddy went for the boneless chicken and my initial thought was that it was a hefty portion considering we were paying £9.80 for two courses. Brilliant value for money especially once you taste it. The chicken was moist and melted in the your mouth and the light spices it was cooked in had a slight heat that works in harmony with the cooling dip served along side. No need for the salad again, the chicken is well loved and shines bright on it's own.

The highlight of the evening did belong to the meatballs. Forget all about your trips to IKEA, Grilla can give you an authentic Swedish experience without the scrum of angry heated shoppers. To start the actual balls were perfectly bite size, plump and juicy. There is just enough gravy to keep it all moist and too stop everything being too savoury and bland, you have a little tub of gorgeous lingonberry jam that brings everything together into one big plank of amazeballness. Mash was smooth and well made and really the only problem was that I was too full to eat it all! A stunning dish and reason only to come back for a second visit!

We were full enough to leave at this point however we were presented with two little nuggets of chocolate brownie topped with squirty cream sat inside a square of pouring cream. It wasn't asked for and was a fantastic gesture. If the brownie is on the dessert menu give it whirl as it was sticky and gooey, everything that a brownie should be. It was also just the right size to finish the meal with a delightful sweet taste in your mouth. I think you should get mini brownies at all restaurants quite frankly, a mint is no longer going to cut it with me now thanks to Grilla Liverpool.

Now, with completely full bellies it was time to depart. I hope that Grilla continues to grow and grow in the city as it really is a vibrant and modern place to enjoy an early dinner (or late lunch!). We may of only paid less than £10 each for our two (although eventually three!) courses but for what I enjoyed I would of quite happily of made the full price for any of our dishes. If you want great food, at great prices, get on down to Grilla.

Find out more via Grilla's Twitter Feed Here

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