Carpathia, Liverpool

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Carpathia, Liverpool

International Restaurant - Address: Albion House, 30 James Street, Liverpool, Merseyside, L2 7PQ

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Review of "Carpathia, Liverpool"

published 02/12/2017 | RICHADA
Member since : 20/06/2004
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About me :
++ "RICHADA" possibly looking for a new outlet - suggestions in a GB please! ++ Any takers for the theory that WITHOUT remuneration Ciao! could actually be a better consumer review site????? Just an 'out loud' thought here...... ++
Pro Ambiance. Comfort, Food. Presentation. Service. Unique. View.
Cons Building not disabled friendly
Value for Money
Standard of Menu
Standard of Service


A unique style - there was even a live singer on Tuesday evening.

A unique style - there was even a live singer on Tuesday evening.


For this review we are in one of my favourite places in the UK, the wonderful maritime city of Liverpool, located in the north west of England. Over the years this city has gained many different reputations in the eyes of different groups of society. It is a city that still suffers much poverty, but also one that has seen, partly thanks to tourism, a resurgence in recent years and the property that this restaurant is located in is an absolutely prime example of that.


Oceanic House, built by Thomas Ismay at the end of the nineteenth century to house the White Star Shipping Line’s headquarters, has for many years held a fascination for me. Many of the Titanic crew came from Liverpool and were employed through this very building, it was from here that the sinking was first announced to the shocked city.

During the post war years Oceanic House lead rather an undistinguished career playing host to office space. Having laid derelict for a decade, in 2014 this large building re-opened as a theme hotel – 30 James Street – Home of the Titanic.

Having never expected to ever set foot inside this iconic building, twelve months ago my wife and I did just that. Out of sheer curiosity and encouraged by the hotel receptionist to do so, we climbed the seven floors of the grand staircase to admire the view from the extraordinary restaurant and its terraces on the top floor. We had on that occasion actually booked to eat elsewhere that evening, but vowed that on our return to Liverpool, we would eat here. November 2017 provided that opportunity.


Located on the corner of The Strand and James street, with its entrance in the latter, prior to the building of the Three Graces before the First World War, this was THE prime location in Liverpool, the upper storeys having a view over the top of the dock walls and “Docker’s Umbrella” (overhead railway line) to the Mersey, Birkenhead and the Irish Sea to the west.

Over the last 130 years the view has changed from a riverscape to a rooftop one, of almost all of Liverpool’s iconic landmarks – including the Albert Dock complex. The location is superb, particularly for those approaching by public transport, be that train, taxi, bus (James Street Interchange is right outside the front door) or even the Mersey Ferry, Pier Head being located directly in front of it over The Strand.

Having said all of that, if you suffer mobility issues and wish to bring your own car, this is probably not the ideal eating place for you. Even stopping outside is almost impossible, thanks to the traffic, bus stop and taxi rank, there is also nowhere to park in the immediate vicinity – our recommendation is to use excellent Liverpool 1 Q Car park, a five-minute walk away.

Those with walking difficulties will also not appreciate the stairs up to the lobby, being a Grade II historic building there is not a lot that can be done about that. Once inside the twin lifts whisk you up to the top floor quickly, but are very small a squash for six people, they also have a tendency to take a while to arrive having pressed the button at busy times.


Full advantage of its history, height, stature and geographical position was taken in the conversion of Oceanic House, placing the Carpathia Restaurant and Champaign Bar (to give it its full title) on the top, seventh, floor, unusually with the kitchen perched on a mezzanine above it.

Stepping from the lift you are facing twin swinging cabin doors with circular portholes, through which you can see right through the bar, restaurant and into the private dining room on the far side of the building, this view in itself sets you up for what is to come.

You are greeted, in our case, by James the Sommelier, at a podium just inside the door, which forms a vestibule before entering the small bar area. The bar itself is small and cosy, possibly too cosy for a larger group, I was also surprised to be told that they did not stock bitter lemon, but the experience that followed soon expunged any disappointment there! We ate in Carpathia on both the Tuesday and Wednesday evening, using the bar for pre-dinner drinks on the second visit.

From the bar you will be shown through to a table in the rather more spacious and airy restaurant. The ambiance and décor has to be experienced to be believed and the photographs published with this review barely do it justice……

……and that is before you get a chance to take in the stunning view, particularly at night with all the historic docks and landmark buildings lit up! In the summer you can eat and drink out on the east or west roof terraces, if afraid of heights I wouldn’t recommend it as only a glass balustrade and steel handrail is between you and James street around 37 metres (120ft) below you. Seeing the camera in my hand, James actually opens up the French doors out onto the terrace on each side, it is 5deg.C with a strong wind blowing, he also takes us into the private dining room on The Strand end of the restaurant, parties of up to about 20 guests are catered for here.

THE MENU: 15 / 15

Breakfast (at £10 probably the best in the North West!), lunch, tea or dinner, take your pick, according to the time of day it is all on offer here. This being a restaurant review it is dinner that we are primarily interested in and the two menus offered for a meal eaten after six in the evening.

Having said that the £19.95 two course, set, menu is available from lunchtime until close of play, the a la carte menu supplementing it after 6.00pm. With the menus changing four times per year I would suggest referring to the following links for the current dishes on offer:

Set menu:

We actually, unusually, pushed the boat out and opted on both nights for the a la carte menu, which offered a rather broader range of highly original looking dishes.

THE PRICES: 13 / 15

If, before reading this section, you have clicked the links above, you will already know that this is not going to be a budget meal choice. However, nothing about the building, its location, or your first impressions in the restaurant would have lead you to expect it to be. Choosing from the fixed price menu you will spend £25 per head on food, and yes, you will manage three courses here – the £20, two course menu offer, proving to be something of a sprat to catch a mackerel.

On the a la carte menu the sky is almost the limit, our choices on both nights came to just short of £40 per head without alcohol, not cheap certainly but, bearing in mind the following sections, very good value for money.

THE SERVICE: 15 / 15

As with food, everyone has different expectations of service, if you want either stiff upper lip, old world subservience and snobbery from staff, or lightening quick service, the Carpathia, Liverpool even, is probably not the place you should be eating out.

For us at least, service here in the Carpathia strikes exactly the right note. The waiting staff being polite and professional, yet if you do engage them in conversation, are more than happy to stay and chat. Indeed the staff are the very heart and soul of this particular establishment.

THE DRINKS: 9 / 10

Whilst I thought bitter lemon was a rather gaping omission from the bar stock, those seeking more alcoholic substances will be more than well catered for – I have never seen such a broad range of different wines offered by the glass – and James has gone to great trouble to match wine suggestions with dishes, each menu item being underscored with his carefully chosen selection.

THE FOOD: 15 / 15

Perfection on a plate, even if, perhaps, the menu description does not quite do the plate of food in front of you justice.

I rarely mention presentation in my restaurant reviews, but here in the Carpathia it is an integral part of the experience. Food this attractively presented – that you want to photograph it for the sake of a good photo – is rare, and, any chef taking this much pride in how their work looks is unlikely to let us down when it comes to content and flavour and that is very much the case here.

Anybody who has read my Polish restaurant reviews will know about our taste for steak tartare, a dish that I do not remember ever being offered here. At £9, perhaps not a cheap starter, but it was superbly executed; raw, very finely chopped steak served with crumbed yolk, pickled mushroom and Dijon crisp bread. Slightly different to the very best Polish version of this dish, but in its way, just as good. It also looked fantastic on the plate as you can see in the accompanying photograph.

Our starters on the second night were rather more traditional fishy ones, smoked salmon in Mrs R’s case, smoked mackerel in mine, again beautifully presented and faultless in the eating.

On the first evening our chosen main course was roasted cod loin with squid ink pasta, pancetta, clams and sea vegetables in a white wine and garlic sauce. It would be a struggle to explain just how good this dish was, both fish and pasta were cooked to perfection, the squid ink sauce was gorgeous, the portion of clams generous and, rather than over-seasoning the fish, a crisp slice of crispy bacon sat on top of it, not something that you would expect but it worked perfectly. Our second night main courses diverged, I am always a succour for dauphinoise potatoes, my ultimate potato dish, in this case accompanying brined Goosnargh duck breast served with carrot purée, celeriac, sliced beetroot and a red wine glaze. For duck lovers this was truly a dish to savour, the dauphinoise potato was as good as I have had anywhere too. Whilst I savoured every mouthful of my dish, Mrs R was enjoying Chicken Supreme and drumstick with Stornoway black pudding, potato purée, apple & sage crisps & roasting juices.

Portion sizes, for us at least, struck a perfect balance - just enough to satisfy, but at the same time leaving space for a sweet, unusual for us to eat three courses at dinner, but here, on both nights we did, and in what style!

On Tuesday, again, we both chose the same dish; a gorgeous rich and alcoholic coffee sponge topped with coffee liqueur mousse, it was so rich that I had to eat about half of my wife’s small glass pot, a superb end to probably the best meal of the year, but, on the second night Carpathia even managed to top that…..

…..I am not big on panna cotta, but something tempted both of us into ordering the prosecco panna cotta dessert, served with quartered grapes and tiny meringues, it was quite simply the finest dish that either of us have eaten anywhere during 2017.


Just across the water from Liverpool in Belfast is a hotel called Benedict’s, which has restaurant and service which I was not expecting to be matched. Well here, three years later, we discovered this one. Different in both flavours and character, yet overall equalling Benedict’s in terms of overall quality, Carpathia is one place we very much look forward to returning to and would whole heartedly recommend should you be visiting this extraordinary city.

Putting that score in perspective, here is a comparison with other eating places rated on the same scoring system:

Benedicts of Belfast – 96% (Dinner x 2)

CARPATHIA – Liverpool – 96% (Dinner x2 + Breakfast)

Marrocco’s – Hove – 95% (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Tea & Ice Cream!)
Boston Tea Party – Honiton – 95% (Breakfast, Lunch, Tea)
Bettys – Harrogate – 94% (Tea and Lunch)
Osso Buco – Weybridge – 94% (Dinner)
Cote Brasserie – Bluewater – 90% (Breakfast Only)
The Grand – Eastbourne – 90% (Tea Only)
Donatello – Brighton – 88% (Lunch and Dinner)
The Tea Cosy – Brighton – 86% (Tea Only)
Breakfast Club – Brighton – 70% (Breakfast)
Boston Tea Party – Stratford Upon Avon – 69% (Breakfast)
P&O Brasserie – Spirit of Britain – Dover to Calais Ferry – 50% (Dinner x 3)
Stanmer House – Brighton – 44% (Lunch Only – never again!)


Weekdays 08.00 – 23.00
Saturday 09.00 – 23.00
Sunday 09.00 – 22.30


Carpathia Champaign Bar and Restaurant
30 James Street
Albion House,
30 James Street,
L2 7PQ

Tel: 0151 236 9659



© RICHADA / CIAO - 02.12.2017

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Comments on this review

  • bettyboo47 published 06/12/2017
    ooo!! Just pipped at the post by Benedicts. In my opinion it is all about the staff, and the fact that he noticed your camera and made efforts to get you some good shots proves these people are very professional!!
  • torr published 04/12/2017
    Thorough and detailed as ever.
  • Secre published 04/12/2017
    This sounds well worth remembering!!!
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Product Information : Carpathia, Liverpool

Manufacturer's product description

International Restaurant - Address: Albion House, 30 James Street, Liverpool, Merseyside, L2 7PQ

Product Details

Type: International Restaurant

City: Liverpool

Country: England

Address: Albion House, 30 James Street, Liverpool, Merseyside, L2 7PQ

Continent: Europe


Listed on Ciao since: 29/11/2017