Thursday, 11 November 2010
Buca di Bacco, Liverpool
A real Italian experience sadly confined to the past!
In 2001, I was desperately seeking an authentic Italian experience in Liverpool. Fed up with the plasticky grub served up in chain restaurants, I craved checked tablecloths, kitsch decor and authentic tastes. Stumbling around the business district, I found Buca di Bacco's by spotting their confidently-stated sign ' the best garlic bread in Liverpool'. Being an Italy connoisseur myself, I detest being served the ready-meal style garlic bread and love the pizza base style bread.
Vindaloo Queen went down to the basement of Buca's, not knowing what to expect. Was it to be a rip-off merchant like Allerton's La Scala? Was it to be a bland affair like Be**a Pa*ta? Or was I to be transported to the Amalfi Coast?
I was instantly enveloped in the passion that is Italy. The smell of garlic bread, the checked tablecloths and the menus in the shape of Italy's famous boot shaped coastline. Only the Scouse accents of the staff and the sounds of the sixties CD playing reminded me that I wasn't in bella Italia!
The garlic bread was certainly the best in Liverpool but I have to say,the Minestrone was severely underrated. This soup should be promoted as the best soup in the city! Every time I visited Buca's (several, over the course of 8 years!) I ordered this veggie treat without fail. And as I am the Vindaloo Queen, only the spiciest dish on the menu was good for me, so I always gorged on Penne Arrabiata. Portion sizes were always decent here, unlike some other Italians in the city. Yes, Villa Romana, I DO mean you.
Dessert was always a treat. The potent coffee was served with a Flake and the selection of cakes changed each day, my fave being the carrot cake. Canny bargain hunters like myself would always squeeze in their Buca fix midweek before 7, as two courses plus coffee was only £6.99- perfect for combatting those midweek blues.
However, the wonder that is Buca's wasn't to last forever. On a recent visit back to the Pool of Liver, I noticed my beloved basement of Bacco had transformed into yet another club/bar showing footy and didn't look like the inviting Italian I knew and loved. The homely atmosphere had gone and looked like another brash bar. Apparently, they still serve Italian dishes, but that's no good when the atmosphere is like Wetherspoons.
Please, bring back my beloved Buca's! You were the best Italian in Liverpool and I've told everyone about you!