Albion is somewhere understated from its façade on Coronation Road in Crosby, with the primary setting of a light and airy atmosphere firmly anchored by wooden furniture and fatigued bare brickwork, occasionally adorned by glassware from times gone by and other simple ornamentation. The décor sets the scene rather well for the menu of Albion, projecting a no-nonsense approach with some stylish touches and not much out of place.
The starter list was something to wrestle with, having at least 3 items which looked heavy in temptation, but also sounding quite heavy for such an early stage in any meal should one want to navigate to the desserts via mains and some side dishes, as stated earlier though, the heaviness is mitigated by some clever takes on each of the dishes. The pressed ham was superbly soft and giving to the touch of a fork, the residual fattiness foiled by the gooseberry catsup’s gentle acidity. The crisp bites of deep fried brie provide some much needed texture for the dish and it works together rather well, though there does feel as though there is something missing in the dish, without being completely able to put a finger on it.
The Cumbrian mutton and treacle bacon turnover is a much more robust affair, a wonderfully stout parcel sitting above a sharp but juicy cucumber chutney and fenced in by swirls of a dark and sweet dressing. The earthy but slightly sweet flavours of the mutton are well tempered by the salty and crisp bacon; this is a tidy and well thought out dish, which was well cooked and possibly for those who are definitely feeling at the greedier end of the spectrum.
Make no mistake, the portion sizes are not huge, but they are more than adequate given the stodginess from some of the components. The absence of steak on the menu is a notable one, however, this is easily forgiven when the selection of a superbly tender, deeply flavoured beef shin is sampled. Resting atop a pavement of crisp potato is the shin sitting beside shredded bacon, which is again a deceptive touch, having the appearance of a mound of pulled pork, the bacon provides a punch of flavour to compliment the beef whilst the dressing of Balmoral sauce is excellently prepared. Toning down each of the components, just incorporating light brush strokes of whisky and mushroom to the sauce provides a sweetness which is infinitely bearable and makes the dish a silence inducing one.
It will be interesting to see how the menu is affected on seasonal basis, perhaps some lighter touches during spring, with local produce getting a chance to sing and Autumn/Winter could see other introductions to strengthen the resolve against colder Mersey air.
Albion should be here to stay; the food is unfussy yet precise, satisfying with delicacy and restraint, plus it unashamedly sings the praises of the isle from which it takes its name.
Wesaþ hāl indeed.
N.B. Albion has undergone a name change to Albina, as of October 2014.
Disclaimer: There was a discount on the bill following an invite to review this restaurant, however, the review above remains an honest opinion of the experience.
55 Coronation Road,
Tel: 0151 932 9460