Damon’s – Liverpool
Friday evening didn’t start well. We’d tried booking a table at ‘The Elephant’ in Woolton but they were fully booked. I couldn’t face another evening in the bar at the Crowne Plaza, so decided on Damons next door – ‘The Place for Ribs’.
Damon’s, like the Crowne Plaza hotel next door occupies a corner of the art-deco remnant of Liverpool’s former airport. An almost circular concrete confection that glows with red neon after dark.
Inside it’s glitzy with neon, chrome and prints that seek to reinforce Damon’s American heritage. The soundtrack for the evening seemed to be one of those ‘Top Gear’ CDs we’re encouraged to buy for Fathers’ Day.
We arrived shortly after six thirty on a Friday evening. In good time (we thought) for ‘Cocktail Time’ that was due to finish at seven and promised ‘free hors d’ouvres’, but these were neither evident nor forthcoming. Bar service was perfunctory.
The place was packed and we were warned that we were facing a thirty minute wait – for a table for two. We sat in the bar amidst children who were playing the ‘race around screaming’ game. Oh joy.
Okay, it’s a family restaurant, but as I said, the evening didn’t start well.
It improved, we were shown to our booth within the promised half hour and ordered our food. Our waitress – Andrea – was cheerful, helpful and attentive.
For starters I had the Chicken Tenders, these were large, moist and tender, the crumb coating was a little chewy, but the ‘buffalo’ sauce had the distinctive tang of Tabasco and didn’t disappoint.
Val ordered (three) Potato Skins ‘loaded’ with Cheese and Bacon. They were indeed ‘loaded’ and (by all accounts) tasty, she couldn’t finish her portion.
For main courses, Val ordered the ‘Jumbo Garlic Shrimp’ which while very, very, very garlicky, weren’t particularly ‘jumbo’ sized; clearly they’d reverted to the English expectation of ‘shrimp’, rather than the American.
I ordered a ‘combo’ comprising a half rack of barbecue ribs, and a ‘creole’ chicken breast. I figured if indeed Damon’s was indeed ‘The Place for Ribs’ then I should try them and, if they disappointed, then the chicken breast would provide a useful backup.
The ribs were tender and tasty, the only downside was that while they’d been slow-cooked to be tender, the grill they’d been ‘finished’ on had left bitter burnt ‘bits’ that went well beyond caramelisation. The ‘creole’ chicken breast was well cooked, still moist, but the creole seasoning was less than authentic and uninspiring.
Damon’s could learn something about spicing from THAT grilled chicken chain.
All main courses are accompanied with fries (or baked potato, garlic mash, or rice), along with baked beans (or peas) and a side salad (or coleslaw). So, all in all it was reasonable value for money. Starter and main course for two, with a glass of wine and a premium lager, and the final bill came in at about fifty quid… reasonable, not particularly cheap.
Next morning we decided to try Damon’s for breakfast, there had been nothing wrong with the Crowne Plaza breakfast, but I’ve spent way too many nights in hotels, it’s nice to get out sometimes.
The first thing we noticed was how busy the place was, okay so it was a Saturday morning, but they were maybe a quarter full. The second was another enthusiastic and attentive waitress – this one was Sally, IIRC.
Val ordered the ‘bacon temptation omelette’, while I ordered corned beef hash, again there are plenty of extras included in the base price.
£7.75 gets you corned beef hash, two eggs (any style), diced potatoes, a side order of beans, mushrooms or tomatoes, and a couple of slices of buttered toast with preserves. Two quid gets you filter coffee with unlimited refills.
The corned beef hash was tasty, as were the potatoes, tinned tomatoes (not much to get wrong there, but a generous portion) and coffee. My wife enjoyed her omelette with a large cup of hot chocolate (she doesn’t do tea or coffee).
All in all, we rated the breakfast slightly better than the previous night’s dinner, and we could have had change from twenty quid, but left the change for Sally.
Rating: for Breakfast
Rating: for Dinner