This should have been a review of the only Mexican restaurant in Liverpool. I'd been planning to go for about a year. With a birthday to celebrate, I thought, OK amigos, vamos! But, after booking online and receiving a reply to say they'd be in contact shortly, I received a second email. They were closed.
And so it came to pass that the birthday celebrations ended up at Enzo's Cucina at Chipping Norton. It's a Wednesday night, and there is a reasonable crowd here with plenty of fit young staff to serve them.
What I liked initially about Enzo's is there is plenty of room. No crowded tables here. Other good signs are that our young waitress has an authentic Italian accent and there is a mightily big wood fire pizza oven in one corner.
While Tapas is not Italian, there is an extensive and interesting small dish menu. There are also plenty of pizza, pasta, risotto, salad and bread options. The menu takes a long while to peruse.
A selection of bruschetta
Our diners have a range of appetites and tastes and the dishes chosen reflect the diversity. The impressive looking 'Davide' pizza ($22) has large slices of marinated chicken with melting mozzarella, shallots, caramelised onions, all topped with a tasty perri perri sauce. Ditto the Spaghetti Emondo, ($19) nicely flavoured with Italian salami, olives, feta cheese, cherry tomatoes, fresh basil & virgin olive oil.
For the vegetarian at the table, the Penne Pesto ($19) hits the spot with its home made basil pesto and cherry tomatoes.
Crispy Soft Shell Crab
The Tapas grazers amongst us order up big. The Piatto Calabrese has white anchovies marinated in olive oil with fried olives and mixed cheeses. There are superbly fresh and succulent fresh Asparagi Trifolati, lightly sautéed in garlic, olive oil, cherry tomatoes, parmesan and chilli. Then there is the amazing sight of the Crispy Soft Shell Crab with its unique texture and chilli and basil seasoning. Unable to make up our minds, a selection of four bruschetta on offer arrives dripping with Mediterranean flavours.
Why we didn't decide to all share the Nutella Pizza topped with multiple scoops of vanilla gelato is beyond me. It's easily the best value of all the desserts despite the high quality of all the in-house made desserts ordered.
The only fault at Enzo's tonight was that there was some confusion over the inclusion of two items on the bill that were either not ordered or never arrived. But with that irritation sorted and the nutella pizza still fresh on the taste buds, I could put the Mexican restaurant fiasco behind me and feel satisfied on discovering an excellente Italiano restaurant at good ole Chippo.