By Andrew Wright.
With Liverpool’s Berry Street bursting with tasty food haunts and laid-back watering holes, it is refreshing to encounter friendly, Spanish-style pinchos bar, Roja Pinchos, which manages to successfully marry the two.
We were excited to sample the delights of Roja Pinchos, and sauntered along last month for the launch of its extensive new wine menu, which accompanied a sumptuous array of Spanish pinchos. Before we were educated on the origins and concept of pinchos by the knowledgable and welcoming staff, we were seduced by the vibe and ambiance of the place. If the exterior on Liverpool’s Berry Street whispers or hints at a venue with a unique personality, the inside -with its soft lighting and intimate seating areas- screams at a setting with oodles of character. A restaurant/bar where one could happily see oneself sharing a romantic evening with a loved one, or whiling away a lazy Sunday afternoon with a group of friends. The common denominator in both of these settings, though, is the pinchos themselves, tasty bites served on sticks or bread. Although tapas also feature, it is the pinchos that take prominency on the menu, and as Liverpool’s first pinchos bar, owner Clare Ridding is proud to explain their origins. She enthuses:
“Pinchos or pintxos (the Basque spelling) are little ‘snacks’ in essence, served up in bars around Spain and tend to be served as a piece of fresh bread with a topping such as chistorra sausage or grilled pork loin or even a piece of Spanish tortilla held in place with a stick. The beauty of pinchos is that you can grab a plate and start nibbling as soon as you walk in a bar.”
We were keen to tuck in, and the fare on offer included; goats cheese in sesame seeds, dates wrapped in parma ham, seafood cocktail on bruschetta, chorizo on mozzarella, quince jelly with manchego cheese and tuna with sundried tomatoes. Aside from the food being aesthetically stunning, varied in flavour and perfectly light, they were, most importantly, incredibly tasty. The manner in which the dishes were served and the range of bold flavours went hand in hand with the relaxed atmosphere at Roja Pinchos, where we were eager to discuss our favourites (date wrapped in parma ham, by the way!) and generally became immersed in a a taste of Spain, right here on our doorstep. Clare was convinced the concept would be embraced here and explained how the idea to bring it to Merseyside was conceived:
“Roja Pinchos offers a very relaxed dining experience where diners can while away afternoons on evenings grazing on pinchos..and enjoy the extensive wine, cava and gin menu on offer. Having lived in Spain, it was something we always liked to do with friends and it really stood out as the perfect social get together which we knew Liverpool would love.”
Topic of conversation amongst our group, aside from the sheer enjoyment taken from each small bitesize treat brought to the table, was the attention to detail shown in bringing all these flavour combinations together, and this was further highlighted with the wine on offer from the new range, painstakingly devised to complement the pinchos in such a manner that maximised the Roja Pinchos ‘experience.’ The pinchos were partnered with specific wines and passionately detailed by the dedicated experts on hand. Clare says:
“Recently we made a change to our wine offering and have sourced a great selection of Spanish wines and caves. The wines on offer were all carefully selected with our food in mind and really compliment our dishes. The new menu has been welcomed by our customers over recent weeks and they are enjoying the new range.”
A view shared amongst our group was that Roja Pinchos offered an authentic taste of Spain with comforting, carefully considered ingredients, packaged through the unique concept of pinchos. This sat side by side with a friendly, informal atmosphere reminiscent of a relaxing post-siesta late afternoon by the Med!
Although in its relative infancy, diners are seemingly impressed by the experience at Roja Pinchos, and the charming venue is revelling in the acclaim and looking forward to introducing new diners to their novel approach, as Clare points out:
“The support and feedback we have received from our customers since bringing Roja Pinchos to Liverpool has been overwhelming and an amazing experience that we have loved. As we approach our second birthday this coming September, we are looking forward to welcoming our regulars and new customers for some celebrations. We have also spent recent weeks planning the months ahead with lots of exciting things to come so watch this space…”
With an ever-growing fanbase (including this writer) and a milestone on the horizon, there are exciting times ahead for Roja Pinchos, and Liverpool’s foodies are invited along for the ride.