Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Antonio's, Ormskirk

Last weekend Gav and I had some really good job-related news to celebrate and decided to do it in style (NB: for 'style', please read 'Ormskirk'). We meandered the streets for a short while with a half formed plan to go to 'Piri Piri' that neither of us were very excited about. It then started to rain and nothing had really captured our interest, plus most places were really busy and we'd have struggled to get a table having not booked. We were thinking of giving up and going home when we almost walked past a little place called 'Antonios' that neither of us had heard of or even noticed before.

On entering we were greeted by an excitable gent whom I presume is the eponymous owner. Despite our late arrival Antonio did his best to seat us, and even opened up a part of the restaurant that had been cleared away. It did mean we didn't exactly have the best seat in the house, but our surroundings were pleasant and the atmosphere was relaxed and jovial.

We were presented with some rather large laminated menus, which caused a minor problem when combined with the romantic tea light table setting. Yes, I proceeded to set fire to my menu. Luckily the rapidly expanding flame was spotted early and a full blown crisis was averted, much to the relief of my heavily blushing self.

I plumped for the Bruschetta Valter to start; after being severely disappointed by some I had sampled at a Frankie and Benny's recently, I had quite the craving for it. I also was aware that I was having a filling pasta for my main course and am well known for 'eyes-bigger-than-belly' syndrome, so I felt this would be just right. It really was. The tomatoes were fresh and juicy and the crumbled goats cheese made for a richer, more satisfying, salty topping, than your usual mozzarella. It tasted really authentic and I was so pleased with my choice. My interest was piqued and I couldn't wait for my main course.

My Farfalle Marinara arrived in timely fashion and seemed a meagre portion on first glance. However the trendy bowls they use have hidden depths and was jam packed with pasta and seafood. I do always seem to have a thing for 'action man bow-tie' pasta; I think sauce seems to cling to it nicely so each rouched morsel is packed with flavour. The predominant flavour in the dish was that of tuna; it almost seemed to be a tuna and white wine sauce. It was scrummy if a little retro; reminding me of my cold tuna pasta school dinner days. The clams, mussels and prawns were plentiful but did not really stand on their own taste-wise; masked by the garlicky tuna sauce. I do feel that our land locked surroundings mean that we miss out on the fresh 'specialness' of seafood those on the coast are lucky enough to enjoy. I'm yet to find a fantastic fishmonger that I can visit easily and would appreciate any recommendations you have. We prefer to order from a fish company that deliver, meaning you have to know what seafood you'll need in advance.
Anyway, I really enjoyed the dish, it was expertly cooked and well put together. I predict that this is probably not their very best dish, and so am excited to explore the rest of the menu.

For two starters/side dishes, two main courses and three alcoholic drinks we paid £28.40. What an absolute bargain for such authentic cuisine in unique and homely surroundings. We are so glad we stumbled across this place and will definitley be returning. I have a feeling it has potential to become something of a local favourite.

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