Santa Maluco, Liverpool: restaurant review
Castle Street's Santa Maluco opened in July 2016, transporting the popular Brazilian rodizio ‘all you can eat’ style of dining to a super fun pizza restaurant and cocktail bar in Liverpool
In a nutshell
Graffiti Spirits has created a stand-alone concept with Santa Maluco, adding to the portfolio of successful restaurants and bars they operate including Santa Chupitos, Slims Pork Chop Express, Salt Dog Slims, 81 Limited and El Bandito.
Combining Italian pizza with a Brazilian style of service, guests pay a fixed price for ‘all you can eat’ rodizio dining and servers bring slices of various pizzas to the table throughout the meal until you’re full. Alongside the rodizio option, pizzas are available as single slices or as a full 18” pizza.
A team of experienced pizza chefs create authentic style pizzas, with thin bases made from imported Italian flour.
Traditional Neapolitan style 18” thin crust pizzas are made from scratch and baked in the wood-fired oven. Classics including Margherita are available, alongside more experimental options such as Portuguesa (ham, onions, hardboiled egg, olives and oregano) and Surf and Turf (topside beef, chilli prawns, green pesto and spinach). Elements of the menu change regularly to focus on seasonal produce and daily specials also feature alongside the 11 pizzas permanently on the menu.
What’s the room like
The open-plan space has an informal charm; a bar dominates the room and the surrounding stripped back wooden tables and window seats contribute to the air of casual cool. A wood-fired pizza shines in the bustling open kitchen, and a mural artwork of the Christ the Redeemer statue adorns the back wall.
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Menu must orders
Pizza bases are thin, crispy and not remotely greasy. Try the What The Duck pizza, a satisfying set of Oriental flavours with tender char siu pork, shredded duck, sweet spring onions and refreshing cucumber.
Carbonara was an indulgent white pizza with pancetta, red onion and sharp, salty pecorino on a base topped with creamy Requeijão cheese sauce. Green House, a vegetarian option, came loaded with subtly sweet charred aubergine, courgette and peppers and tangy sundried tomatoes that worked well against the mild goats cheese.
BBQ Club delivered a wealth of punchy flavours; the pulled pork was meltingly succulent, the marinated chicken had a delicate spice and we loved the smoky barbecue glaze on top.
Margherita shone in its simplicity, with the slightly tart San Marzano tomato sauce, creamy mozzarella, fresh basil and olive oil serving as a testament to the allure of uncomplicated flavours. American was a meaty delight, with spicy sausage, pancetta, fiery Sriracha and creamy Requeijão cheese sauce.
Don’t miss the dessert pizza – juicy strawberries and blueberries were piled onto a base topped with Nutella, Smarties, chocolate sauce and cream. The berries lifted what could have easily been a sickly pudding, giving it freshness and colour.
The cocktail menu is impressively varied, with classics and signature drinks on offer. The $5 Shake was intensely sugary yet not too overpowering, with a boozy kick from Chambord and Vodka, blended with milk, blueberry jam and ice cream. A fun, grown-up version of a milkshake really, served in a milk bottle.
The São Paulo Spritz was a refreshing take on the classic Aperol Spritz, with cachaça, Aperol, orange, rhubarb and prosecco served over ice. The Project Blender series sounded intriguing, with a range of Pina Coladas, Daiquiris and Margaritas available in various flavours. Expect wines, beers and milkshakes too.
Santa Maluco successfully merges the Brazilian rodizio style of sociable dining with a restaurant serving solely pizzas and a wide range of drinks. The wood-fired bases and extensive range of toppings make the pizzas hard to resist, which is why the ‘all you can eat’ concept works.
It’s the ideal destination for an evening with friends, where you can crowd around a candlelit table and enjoy a slice of the whole menu. Dining here is affordable, with pizza priced at £3 per slice or from £15 for an entire pizza; rodizio ‘all you can eat’ pizza £10 before 4pm and £15 after 4pm; and cocktails from £5.
2 Castle St
Written by Camille Allcroft (cococami.blogspot.co.uk), September 2016
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