Enthused by Helen b's spotting of a couple of interesting looking new places and by our long-awaited visit to a fairly new cava and tapas bar, I can give some feedback ...
Neon Jamon is in the Penny Lane part of Allerton, on the strip of shops and restaurants which joins Church road to the end of Smithdown Rd. They are aiming for a bar with food as opposed to a restaurant where you can also have a drink - so they don't take reservations. If there is no table when you get there, and also no room at the bar, they take your mobile number so that you can go for a drink somewhere else and they will ring you when your table is ready. It's a formula that seems to work - it feels funky and welcoming at the same time, and the music is good and not too loud (which I hate).
The food was pretty damn good too. We had jamon iberico, padron peppers and tomato bread first of all - and all were very good. I've had better iberico ham, but it was still good and made even better by the glass of Manzanilla we had with it. We followed these dishes with the pork ribs cooked in sherry, the clams, lamb chops with figs from the specials list and a lovely tomato, watercress, mint and chilli salad. All of these were great. The only (minor) complaints were that the lamb wasn't quite as pink as I would have liked, but were still juicy and gorgeous; and the clams were slightly over cooked - but that could have been because they were sat steaming in their bowl for a little while before we got round to eating them - they came in a delicious garlic, wine and chilli broth though. We finished off with some churros and chocolate (having breakfast before we went to bed was a new one for me ...).
Lovely staff and an enjoyable night - the prices all seemed very reasonable - particularly the cavas and wines by the glass - but as always seems to happen when I am let loose on places like this, it all mounted up to more than I expected - £77 for two of us (£33 of this was alcohol though).
I passed the new Lebanese place on Bold Street today, and went in to get a menu. I couldn't resist getting a lamb schwarma wrap to takeaway, and it was really good - a decent amount of tender lamb, pickled cucumber and turnip, a lovely garlic sauce which didn't overdo the garlic and lots of flat leaf parsley. I'll definitely go again - it's the perfect location for getting a takeaway after going to the pictures at the FACT. The only downside is that they don't have a licence (as you'd expect), and they also don't allow people to bring their own alcohol. They do have some unusual soft drinks on the menu though.
I went into the new Korean place further up the road - Seoul Love - and got a menu. I'm not an expert, but it looks like it's worth a go - some interesting looking dishes.