Looking for new places to eat in Liverpool? Check out our restaurant review of Belzan in Liverpool…
Belzan, Liverpool, in a nutshell
The latest venture from Chris Edwards and Owain Williams, the owners of successful Liverpool restaurant Filter + Fox, Belzan describes itself as a neo-bistro and bar serving seasonally led dishes.
Executive chef Sam Grainger heads up the open kitchen, dreaming up creations crafted with ingredients which are locally sourced or made in house where possible.
What’s the vibe like at Belzan?
Belzan has a charming neighbourhood feel, with a minimal decor of white painted brick walls, simple candlelit tables and pendant lighting. Hip without trying too hard, it’s the kind of place you wish could be a fixture on every street. The airiness of the space makes it a great lunch spot by day, while by night the atmosphere becomes more intimate as fairy lights twinkle and cocktails flow.
What’s the menu like at Belzan?
During the day breakfast and brunch give way to a lunch menu served from 11am-4pm. There are eggs cooked to your preference with a range of sides for breakfast (think house-made baked beans in a rich tomato sauce and roasted mushrooms with soy and fennel seed) alongside brunch dishes such as shakshuka and pan-fried banana bread with crème fraîche, seasonal berries and honey.
Sandwiches, soups and salads form the basis of a simple lunch menu, plus a daily homemade pasta special. In the evening there’s a roster of small sharing dishes. Five are recommended to feed two and enticing options include crispy fish skin with salsa fresca, barbecued whole Cornish squid and rabbit and blood orange ravioli.
What dishes should we order at Belzan?
Thick slabs of chargrilled bread and butter sprinkled with sea salt got our meal underway and silence ensued as we devoured the first plate to arrive, incredibly smoky and tender pork collar yakatori with shisho mayo. A large portion of butter beans with beef dashi and parsley crema was full of delicate flavour and barbecued savoy cabbage proved to be surprisingly filling.
The Iberico pork ‘secreto’ on the menu had been substituted for a generous helping of succulent fillet steak, which was given depth by caramelised cauliflower purée and a sweet and fiery date and mustard sauce. Hake with braised chicory and harissa crema was comforting and indulgent, with a bold kick of spice. We then moved on to truffled celeriac with melted tunworth cheese and puffed barley. Like a sophisticated take on cheese fries, the sweet and earthy celeriac wedges paired well with the creamy intensity of the melted tunworth.
A dessert of barbecued banana with banana ice cream, salted caramel and chocolate delivered the fun of an American diner-style dessert – the banana took on a syrupy quality which worked well with the caramel and chocolate. A second dessert of treacle tart provided the ideal counterbalance to the banana, with the subtlety of the accompanying coffee chaff ice cream allowing the golden wedge of tart to take centre stage.
What are the drinks like at Belzan?
Complimentary still and sparkling water is served to the table, which is always a welcome touch, and the small but perfectly formed cocktail list is filled with exciting creations. We ordered the Corpse Bride, a heady combination of Monkey 47 Gin, Lillet Blanc, grapefruit, lemon and pastis. The wine list brings together a pleasing variety of old and new world wines on a menu annotated with quirky descriptions.
The verdict: Belzan is a real find and it pulls off the tricky feat of feeling welcoming and familiar, while maintaining a unique persona packed with charm. There’s a real sense of attention to detail that comes across – food is served on handmade ceramics from a local pottery studio and the eclectic playlist adds vibrancy to the dining experience. The natural bonhomie of the staff and the bustling atmosphere make it feel almost like visiting a friend’s house, with the added bonus of some spectacular food and drink.
371 Smithdown Rd, Liverpool L15 3JJ, 0151 733 8595. belzan.co.uk
Words by Camille Allcroft
Photographs by Belzan and Camille Allcroft