Review: Dash is a smash whether you are at work or play
Opened on the site of Liverpool’s former iconic Living Room restaurant and bar, Dash offers delicious Pan Asian food that doesn’t disappoint. Tony McDonough reports
At the turn of the 21st century the late, great hospitality entrepreneur Tim Bacon, and his business partner Jeremy Roberts, brought their Living Room concept to Victoria Street in Liverpool.
Its impact cannot be underestimated. In a city centre where the choice was between the old fashioned ‘alehouses’ and the odd naff wine bar, Living Room was transformational, ushering in a new era for the city’s bar and restaurant scene.
Many new outlets have opened across the city since but few have matched its delicate balance of ‘exclusive inclusivity’. It was a venue where footballers and celebrities rubbed shoulders with Liverpool’s ordinary punters. And it worked just beautifully.
Since Living Room’s closure in 2014, there have been attempts to follow its success in the same space. The latest incarnation is Dash, opened in December last year by 15 Group.
They have retained the restaurant’s familiar stairway entrance, leading up to glass doors etched with the Dash signature. Inside is a décor colour scheme of blossom and teal contrasts with a bold black and white diamond flooring throughout.
Dash feels clean and fresh when you walk in with a clear sense of renewal and modernity. And yet, something of the look and feel of the Living Room remains and that sense of welcome and familiarity for those of us that remember the old place is no bad thing.
Customers are welcomed with a 10 metre-plus bar with full-length spirit display and bar stool seating, with restaurant banquettes and stand-alone tables for 125 covers to the left, opposite a spacious bar area and curved booth seating.
Italian Carrera marble has been used for walls and pillars, accentuated with crystal chandeliers. The one thing I miss is the old piano to the right as you walk in. Can’t have everything, I guess.
A private dining room offers space for private parties of up to 36 guests. The room has its own dedicated server and a dazzling ceiling filled with an expanse of high and low hanging chandeliers.
Another big loss (in my opinion) to Liverpool’s now vibrant food and drink scene was the closure of Host in Hope Street in March this year. It’s offering of freshly prepared simple but delicious Pan-Asian cuisine was a delight. So it was encouraging to discover Dash’s menu features Pan Asian influenced dishes and small plates.
We dined here as a foursome on a Friday afternoon. It was a business meeting and I’m often apprehensive about discussing work over a meal. The interruptions for food and service, as well as the general restaurant clatter, can make discussion difficult.
Luckily, we had arrived just after the lunchtime rush had finished so there was a calmness about the place. The service was spot on. Many restaurants in the UK still struggle with the idea of customer services. Too often it is either surly and neglectful or fawning and intrusive.
The staff at Dash had the balance just right. Essential interruptions for taking orders, delivering dishes, etc, were executed effortlessly and with the minimum of fuss, allowing us to keep our important discussions flowing.
Having been a regular at Host I have high expectations of Pan Asian and Dash doesn’t disappoint. In fact, I would say the food pushed the standard to an even higher level. The lunch menu is split into small plates, modern sushi rolls and main courses.
Mixing and matching the smaller dishes such as the Korean beef bau bun, katsu chicken, flamed salmon and avocado dragon is highly recommended to give you the full range of delicious flavours on offer. The food was a kaleidoscope of colour on the table and a mesmerising mix of flavours on our tongues.
Not to be missed is the amazing ‘superfood salad’, comprising shaved asparagus, quinoa, edamame beans, avocado, tenderstem broccoli, soft leaves, buttermilk, Sichuan pepper dressing and viola. Have no idea if it is as healthy as it sounds but it tastes fantastic.
We saw Dash in its daytime mode and we were very impressed. It was also hard not to visualise the venue on a Friday or Saturday evening, thronging with people looking for that old exclusive inclusivity. The bar serves spirits and beers alongside Dash’s signature New York-themed cocktail list.
As a business lunch venue it is highly recommended. Despite everything clearly being prepared freshly, you don’t have to wait an age for your food. Almost a year since it opened Dash may have found the right formula to live up to the Living Room legacy.
Dash is at 15 Victoria St, Liverpool and opens Monday to Thursday, 10am to midnight and Friday to Sunday 10am to 1am. Call 0151 236 2265 to book.