Liverpool City centre pops up in more movies than you think, usually impersonating downtown Manhattan or the Chicago of the thirties. And if a director ever needed a stand-in Brooklyn bar , they would do worse than plump for Bacaro on Castle Street.
The name Bacaro comes from the bars dotted around the back streets of Venice, but the owners look like they had the bars of little Italy in New York in mind when they designed the fit out. More laid back than it's flashy neighbour - San Carlos, the loose informal atmosphere and the open plan design attracts the student/ young professional crowd.
Being neither young, students or professional, we were nevertheless invited to choose one of the tables for two, all spaced cosily together along a red buttoned leather bench under a strip of tall window. The urban transatlantic feel was enhanced by our waiter (actually Brendan hailed from Canada but his father was American so he half counted) and the rattle of cocktail shakers from behind the well stocked bar.
We consulted our place mats that doubled as menus. Brendan helped us choose from the little plates, the small portions of Italian Tapas. Commencing with spicy sausage pizza (tangy and satisfying) together with excellent minty spinach mash on mozzarella, his recommendations were spot on and reassuringly not the most expensive on the menu. Shortly, Brendan returned to gently and informatively upsell us some more little plates. We plumped for the avocado salad, ( fresh and perfectly ripened) together with the smoked vodka salmon and grapefruit.
The delicate fish held its own as the tartness of the fruit battled it out with the chilli, the dish was beautifully presented and as fresh as the dockside. Helpful to the last, Brendan presented us with some gratis courgette fries that had been ordered by mistake. But after sampling a few I didn't feel the need to thank him for his gift (they're best avoided).
Pudding was a passion fruit cheese cake, the traditional biscuity base replaced by rolling the dessert in a crunchy digestive. Very delicious and the passion fruit gel accompaniment a lovely sharp surprise. Sarah had one glass of the passable house white, but I avoided the grape due to the agonies of a post stag hangover.
The restaurant began to increase in volume and as the stools at the cocktail bar filled up, it was time to make an exit but not before Brendan presented us each with his farewell present, a lemon vodka digestive. Bacaro opened earlier this year but already has a loyal discerning clientele and at thirty eight pounds plus service, offered excellent value and comes thoroughly recommended.