The restaurant layout has something of a character about it, a very homely French bistro style mezzanine seating area rests above a bar and kitchen area in what used to clearly be a small shop, although this works very much in the favour and charm of the Fat Budgie. Heavy-set wooden tables and reclaimed chairs add to the warmth of the restaurant in which, the industrious couple operate to a contemporary soundtrack at a perfectly acceptable volume (as covered by plenty of other articles recently, many place ramp their volumes up in order to fill tables and clear them in double quick time) meaning there is clear focus on comfort and not having anything about the experience to be rushed.
The menu is tightly focused on classic British/French style dishes such as slow cooked beef cheek, monkfish with lentils, pork belly and a push for more seasonal accompaniments to the meal. There are no sides to choose from, but refreshingly, the Fat Budgie do seem intent on feeding their clientele, if somewhat in a manner befitting an over enthusiastic Mother urging you to eat following a period of absence from her. Again, this rather homely charm works very much in the favour of this establishment, as there simply aren’t many places with quite as much atmospheric warmth twinned with some honest home-style cooking.
Although the drinks menu was restrictive, with Liverpool Craft Brewery alone making up the beer on our visit, the Love Lane Pale is more than adequate with the meals on offer; they do have a usual rotation of 3 beers on at any given time. There is also a small and tidy wine menu featuring 4 reds and whites apiece available amongst other options, with cucumber-steeped ice water brought to the table without hesitation. In time, one gets the impression, or perhaps hopes the Budgie will spread its wings and keep things tight in the cooking and perhaps to provide other options to provide adequate foil to the food.
The beef cheek and the pork belly were in essence, beyond adequate in size, but also delicious and tidy dishes in their own right. Seasonal vegetables (everyone loves a bit of kale, right?) were served with the mains, but no sides being available, it did feel as though there was the need for something a little more bulky and starchy with the pork belly to break up what is rather a rich combination in each. The celeriac mash did a good job with the beef cheek, but the richness of the red cabbage, kale and pork belly was crying out for something of a carb-rich punctuation. You can’t argue with perfectly soft meat and crisply brittle crackling though.
The chocolate mousse was a pleasant dish to round the meal off, additional fruit, cream and candied orange peel providing some extra dimension to a light but still smoothly decadent chocolate dessert.
Brisk but unintrusive service was a welcome facet, the experience warranted further investigation and upon leaving, we were invited to return for the Fat Budgie’s forte of a traditional Sunday roast. The Fat Budgie is a decidedly honest venture with a lot of potential, maybe not spectacular, but it really doesn’t need to be when the menu is so focused and executed in such a comforting and enjoyable manner.
Until Next time!