Don't you hate it when you do your best to support local businesses (like me on here constantly shouting my mouth off that chains are bad) and get let down by a mix of shoddy cooking and overpriced tourist trap rubbish? This review is going to be a hypocritical one as I had a horrific meal last week in an independent and a fabulous one in a chain (post to follow later). As Spring has finally sprung, me and my mate decided to have a cheesy British seaside day out in Southport. After cheating death on the journey there (that fear you have when the train passes through Bootle and there's a salivating pitbull on the platform, hoping it won't get in your carriage) to navigating the area between the train station and the main drag nearly getting run over by inebriated pensioners on Benidorm scooters not to mention nearly getting defecated on by killer seagulls, we found what looked like a good old traditional Italian called Salvatore's. A fan of a bit of kitsch and 1970s nostalgia, we thought we'd get a decent, traditional and cheap bit of lunch here. The only thing I'd be eating would be my words. Oh dear...
The ambience was a bizarre cross between your typical 1970s Italian and a shabby bar in Benidorm, the cheesy soundtrack of Gypsy Kings in the background accompanied by an orchestra of phlegmy coughs from the clientele. Not one of the customers sounded local- was this going to be a rip off tourist trap? I looked at the menu and my fears were confirmed. Our host, Salvatore was a cheerful, Steve Coogan lookalikey kind of chap so no offence to him, he was the bright light in this dingy cesspit. I had to search long and hard for anything remotely Italian on the menu or veggie for that matter. Someone behind me was eating something burnt involving frozen veg out of Heron Foods or somewhere, the poor folk opposite me weren't eating Italian either. To start, we ordered garlic bread which looked like something I made in school cookery when I was 14- a few rough hunks of bread with a bit of garlic butter on. A poor imitation of one you get for 49p from Belle Vale, except this was near £3. For mains, I ordered Penne Arrabiata and I don't know what it was, but it wasn't Arrabiata. First of all, it was mild and creamy, it lacked its chili kick. Secondly, it was full of mushrooms. I didn't ask for funghi did I? The tinned tomatoes in its sauce were evident. This was the most disgusting pasta I have ever eaten and believe me, I've eaten at some dodgy places in my time. To add insult to injury, it was a tenner! £10 for what? A concoction that looked like a student had made it using whatever was left in the cupboard? Disgusting. A real shame, as this place is crying out with potential and the owner is obviously enthusiastic and a nice guy who's good with people. Sadly, as I left I saw so many more inviting restaurants with 2 for a tenner deals along the road. Suppose I should have just stuck to the chippy.
The good: Ermmmm let's think. The music was rather nice!
The bad: The food, the price and the dust in the place.