Restaurant Review – by Amy Glasgow
Opening a new food and drink venue at the moment is a risk, but for the team at West Side Tavern, so far it’s a risk that has paid off. The watering hole and eatery opened its doors in late December of 2022 and has rarely been empty since.
Self-described as a ‘contemporary take on a traditional NY style tavern’, West Side Tavern offers up premium drinks, including their own house tap-tails, alongside a small Italian-American style food menu.
Credit where credit is due, there is a distinct vibe to the space that, on entering through a red velvet curtain, does make you feel transported to the side streets of New York. It’s loud, it’s busy, there’s a lot of red, and people seem to be having a pretty damn good time. It’s definitely a bar that does food, rather than a restaurant that has a good drinks menu, but is it actually any good?
According to the team, the plan for the months ahead is to continue to expand the food menu as they find their feet, because when it’s placed in front of us, we’re surprised to see just a handful of options available. There are small snacks such as anchovies, flatbread or olives, tavern style 14 inch sharing style pizzas, and Italian-inspired small plates of burrata, meatballs and chicken parm.
The Taste Test…
With so many pizza places already spread across the city, I had to wonder if these ‘tavern style’ pizzas would hold their own. Thankfully, I was pleasantly surprised. First to arrive at the table was the Spice Boi, toppTheed with pepperoni, hot honey and chillies. The super thin base was super crisp, and I loved the combination of the meaty pepperoni with the spicy sweetness of the hot honey. Strangly though, after a good break and a few drinks, five of us decided to order another Spice Boi and although the ingredients were the same, the pizza topping ratio was slightly different to the first one. It had more cheese than the first pizza, so I think consistency is still something the kitchen team are working on, although saying that, both versions were equally delicious, so none of us were complaining!
More, more, more!
The N’duja and Onion pizza, with n’duja, beer braised onion puree and scarmoza, was delicious too, but I think they could be a bit more heavy handed with the onion puree. It had bags of flavour but the small dollops of it across the pizza just weren’t enough for me – give me more!
When it came to the small plates, both the chicken parm and the meatballs did not disappoint. The chicken had a perfectly crisp, gold coating, and the meatballs were drenched in a sauce so delicious I wish the chef would bottle it so I could buy it by the truckload and put it on everything. Described simply as ‘sunday sauce’, it had so much flavour that all of us were blown away and fighting over every last drop. Who knew meatballs could be such a triumph?!
I’m excited to see how the West Side Tavern team continue to grow and expand the menu, I’ll definitely be back soon…
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