Thursday, 29 May 2014

Restaurant Review: Almost Famous Liverpool

I'm ready to admit it, I'm one of those girls. I'm one of those girls who will only eat a salad by choice if it comes on a McChicken sandwich on a Sunday morning McDonald's run. I live for carbs, red meat and anything covered in salt and oil. Thus it goes without saying that when Almost Famous started appearing on my Facebook feed alongside amazing pictures of their offerings, it seemed inevitable that pretty soon I would be part of their dining crowd. So, when Ruby suggested we pop over this week one night after work to the Liverpool Branch up by Mello Mello on Parr Street, I absolutely jumped at the chance. Reviews seemed to range from great-food-but-crap-service to one including the words "crouching tiger hidden gummy bear" and so I have to admit, I was a little dubious as to what to expect. However, having investigated their twitter thoroughly, I was impressed with the often humorous and yet still polite way they dealt with complaints, which made me think it was a place I was definitely going to like.

When we arrived there was around a 20 minute wait for a table, which was actually better than I expected as I knew you couldn't book, and so the host desk took our phone number and pointed us in the way of the bar assuring us that a text would arrive when our table was ready (how very 21st century of you). So we went ahead and settled in with our drinks which were reasonably priced diet cokes at £2 a pop, no pun intended. Normally, I would be thinking how pretentiously hipster of you to serve them in your nan's old jam jars, but on this occasion I'm going to allow it. Sitting at an old oil drum drinking out of a jam jar all felt very thrown together, and yet it really worked at the same time. Looking around you can see the sheer amount of effort that has gone into making the restaurant seem completely effortless, and when you notice how easily the customers seem to relax into the atmosphere, you've got to conclude it's worth it. When the text came through, a lot faster than the approximate estimation of twenty minutes, we headed back to the host desk to be taken to our table.

At this point I would like to say that I find the comments about poor service really bizarre, the staff were all attentive, kind and chatty. The fact they wear their own clothes is a little deceiving, but it also just sort of adds to the relaxed atmosphere. One thing I will add, is that if this place is full the tables can get a little crowded. We were sitting wedged into a corner between two other couples, and although this didn't bother two of us too much, our table was set up for three, and I can imagine that would be more than a little bit of a squeeze.

The burgers range from traditional double cheeseburgers with salad, to toppings like frazzles, candied bacon and beef chilli. Honestly? Everything sounded absolutely amazing, but me and Ruby both settled for RIVER PHOENIX; a double cheeseburger topped with bacon, bbq fried onions, frazzle crisps (I know, right), baconnaise, chipotle ketchup, bbq sass and fresh chilli. We also made the horrendous mistake of ordering a portion of winning fries each, a gorgeous mix of sweet potato and standard potato fries. Absolutely amazing, but also way too much food for two potentially smaller than average girls. The burgers were juicy and still slightly pink, the onions crispy and the bacon themed toppings a glorious coronary waiting to happen. I did have to cut the burger up though, because even my massive gob couldn't fit it all in, and I'm ashamed to say I didn't manage to eat it all (I was sorely tempted by the offer of a doggy bag, but carrying it home on the bus didn't seem like such a great idea!) I consider a meal that I'm too full to finish a victory, especially when it's only cost me £10, and it was absolutely amazing.

Ruby managed to fit in an I-Scream sundae, a glorious concoction of gummy bears, crumble, ice cream, whipped cream and kids sweets (I can only assume this is what the "Crouching tiger, hidden gummy bear" comment was referring to) but I was itching to use the photo booth, so I couldn't wait for her to finish! By far the bargain of the night was 2 strips (yes, real strips not those awful passport grid ones) of photographs for £2, and I'm honestly shocked that more people weren't cramming all their friends in to get their own.

All in all, I'd say from the outside Almost Famous looks quiet, unassuming and even maybe a bit grotty, but inside there's a wonderland waiting to be discovered. Amazing burgers, a great price and a fantastic soundtrack (ranging from Reverend and the Makers right the way through to Beyonce) and if nothing else, a great set of photo's to take away. Things to watch out for? It seems staff attitudes may be a little hit and miss, although in my experience they were very good, and sometimes you might feel a little like you're sitting on the knee of a stranger.

Have you tried Almost Famous? What did you think of the offerings?

S xo.
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