In a nutshell
Wirral history and Scandinavian ties inspired the name of The Viking, a stylish pub and bakehouse in the town of West Kirby, which opened its doors in June 2016 after a £1 million refurbishment.
Merseyside born celebrity chef, television veteran and cookbook writer Simon Rimmer has brought his latest venture to West Kirby. After founding his vegetarian restaurant Greens in Didsbury, Manchester in 1990 he went on to open The Elephant in Woolton Village, Liverpool and The Viking is the second venue modelled on that successful pub and bakehouse concept.
What are they cooking
The menu shows an eye for detail and interesting flavours; there is haddock in golden Budvar beer batter, French dip sandwich and pizza topped with roasted butternut squash, Cambozola, sage and pumpkin seeds to consider, while pickled herring pot and a Smörgåsbord showcase Scandinavian influences.
Local produce including Claremont Farm strawberry jam, Cheshire pork and Wirral watercress make an appearance while brunch dishes, burgers, grills and fish ensure there is something for everyone. There’s even a Little Vikings menu to keep the children happy.
What’s the room like
A sense of fun underpins everything at The Viking as illustrated by the photo booth, with a rack of hats which greets you by the door, as well as the cinema room and boules court.
Exposed brickwork, wooden tables and velvet booths frame the elongated bar creating a contemporary aesthetic and artworks and geometric print cushions add to the vibrancy which abounds throughout.
Menu must orders
Our starter of chargrilled halloumi with chilli, lime and coriander was served on a wedge of freshly baked flatbread and surrounded by a colourful array of roasted vegetables drizzled in zesty lime and chilli oil – summery flavours despite the rain.
My main course of summer salad was filling and bright, with tender chicken and plenty of fresh greens including broccoli, baby spinach and broad beans. Butternut squash and sour cherries added an appealing contrast and toasted barley brought crunch. Lemon posset for dessert was understated and creamy with a burst of tanginess from the raspberries, but the light and sugary shortbread undoubtedly stole the show.
A good selection of cocktails, gin goblets and ales take care of things on the drink front. The Viking is a ‘tank pub’ or tankova serving fresh and unpasteurised Budvar driven from the town of Budweiss in the Czech Republic every week.
There is a solid wine list with highlights including a rioja blanco and barolo to please lovers of both white and red, and smoothies and milkshakes are also available.
The neutral exterior of The Viking belies the warmth within, the informal charm made us feel instantly at home and the varied food offering means there is plenty of choice. Reasonable prices and attentive service were further plus points, as was the relaxed interior design which creates a rustic cosiness which is not self-conscious.
This is the type of place which makes you want to linger and with something tempting on the menu at all times of the day, there is no reason not to.
Written by Camille Allcroft (cococami.blogspot.co.uk), July 2016
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