Back in 1999, the days before those monstrosities Nando's and Frankie and Benny's polluted our tastebuds, bargain hunting Scousers liked cheap grub in Renshaw Street's Uncle Sam's and Caesar's Palace. Conveniently located across the road from then shopping Mecca Lewis's and a stone's throw from nightlife in Hardman St and Bold St, these were THE places to eat. Even the most fussy eater could find something here- from greasy grub like burgers and pizza to the more exotic like enchiladas and tapas plates, not forgetting the huge ice creams and potent coffee, there was something for everyone in Caesar's and Uncle's as they were known. And ladies- how could you forget the international hunks who worked there? Talk about dish of the day. I would have a crush on a different Middle Eastern staff member every week.
Fast forward to 2012 and Liverpool city centre has shifted away from Renshaw St and co; Lewis's has gone bust, the Adelphi has a horrendous reputation and even the nightlife has relocated. While Caesar's has chosen to remain in Renshaw St (future blog post!), Uncle Sam's has moved to a smaller location in Bold St. Will it evoke memories of me partying like it's 1999? Or has it too been swept away with Liverpool's newly pretentious image? Only one way to find out... blog!
I was delighted to see that the menu had remained unchanged and the prices were still budget conscious. Taking a wander down memory lane, the dishes leapt out like reminders of the past, a bit like listening to a Now 2000 album and hearing THAT S Club 7 song. The Chuckwagon burger, the Baked Potato Engine...all these quirky names served as reminders of my past! The staff seemed to be all male (yippee!) and did I detect some cute foreign accents? This place would be hilarious on a hen night, think of all the flirtatious banter and photo-ready staff. The only thing missing is the fact the new premises don't have a fish pond. Might be something to do with those Health and Safety jobsworths- back in 1999 a drunk 'lady' actually fell in it.
I ordered a veggie burger and a potent cup of coffee- after the previous night's exploits in the UNI (Veg vindaloo, peshwari naan followed by a massive mango kulfi), my belly couldn't possibly accommodate one of Uncle Sam's famous ice cream sundaes.
What you see is what you get in Uncle's- not gourmet cuisine, nothing fancy, nothing memorable, just normal grub. A bit like a greasy spoon/diner/McDonald's food. There's only so much you can write about burger and chips- it is what it is, which makes Uncle's a great place to go if the budget's tight, your dining companions are fussy eaters or you just want a simple filling meal before a night out. However, its selling point is its huge ice creams which come in a variety of flavours, adorned with cocktail brollies and a sparkler if it's your birthday! Uncle Sam's, it's great to have you back.