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Review of the Pirate themed restaurant, The Smugglers Cove, Liverpool.

Review of the Pirate themed restaurant, The Smugglers Cove, Liverpool.

L3 4AD
0151 703 6555

First impressions...

If your children have a thirst for adventure, why not enjoy a dining experience with a difference? Smugglers Cove is a uniquely decorated, pirate themed restaurant, on the Albert Docks. The ‘Tavern’ looks like something taken from the film ‘Hook’ which went down well with our little pirate. The tables/chairs are purposely mismatched to follow the theme, some of which have barrels for chairs. Some images on the walls have mark’s designed to look like they have been slashed with a sword and the kids will enjoy seeing the pistols and swords safely locked away in display cabinets. The attention to detail is high, with toilets following the same decor and with sea kelp toiletries.

Some tables are well lit but others are not as this quirky venue has been designed to be atmospheric. Therefore, when you book, you may wish to request a well lit area.

Type of food on offer and an idea of price.....

The Smugglers Cove serves a varied menu. For grown up explorers there is a range of deli boards and BBQ meats including their famous hanging kebabs, burgers, fish, stews, pie, scouse and salads. Many meals cost around £11.95.

In terms of the children’s menu, for £6.95 kids can enjoy a treasure trove of a meal for little Buccaneers as they tuck into main, mini salad and a desert staff even sneak in some hidden vegetables where they can too! Menu options include but are not limited to build your own pizza, spaghetti and meatballs, vegetable ribbon spaghetti, chicken and red pepper hanging mini kebab, sausage, burgers, fish etc, many of which come with chips and a choice of beans or peas. Best of all, 25p is donated to Alder Hey for each kids meal sold.

Hanging chicken skewer with salt and pepper fries.

Deserts for adults include baked cookie dough, sticky toffee pudding, lemon tart, and a range of sundaes. The children have a choice of three highly popular deserts which at the time of our visit was banana split, brownie, rice krispies pumpkin cake.

Options for those with dietary requirements....

Vegan and vegetarian options are also available on the adult and children’s menus. On a previous visit (hen do), staff took the time to go through all of the vegan options and make recommendations or amendments to cater for such dietary requirements. If you have allergies, these can be discussed with staff or you can scan the QR code on the menu.

Service and quality of food...

Staff are very attentive. Our drinks and food order were taken within 5 minutes of arrival. Staff were very accommodating and understanding with regards to my daughters request of putting the sauce separate to the pasta and meatballs. Staff also bigged up the high chair saying “a special chair for a special girl”.

Starter portion of salt and pepper chicken wings. 

Our food was served in approximately 25 minutes and our little girls face lit up as she was presented with an incredibly generous portion of spaghetti and meatballs alongside garlic bread, cheese and side salad. We would have been happy having this as an adult lite bite and felt that given you also get a desert, £6.95 for such a large meal is incredible value for money. The only thing to note is that the meatball sauce did have a slight kick, much to the delight of the adults who used it as a dipping sauce so if your child can be a little fussy like ours, again it may be a good idea to get it on the side so they can control how much they use.

Little Buccaneers Spaghetti and Meatballs (served with sauce on the side as per little ones request). 
Steak sandwich with salt and pepper fries. 

The hanging chicken skewer was well presented and staff offered to carefully drizzle the garlic butter over the chicken if required. The chicken portion was generous and in between each piece you could find either a mushroom, red pepper or slice of red onion. The best part of the meal though was definitely the salt and pepper chips. Its only £1 to upgrade and honestly it will really make your meal. Chips were gorgeous and packed full of flavour with a range of sesame seeds spring onion and red chillies sprinkled over the top. The steak burger with whipped goats cheese, rocket, crispy onions and swiss melted cheese was cooked to order as required and packed full of interesting and varied flavours. The only downside was that the bread was a little too toasted and so was a bit on the hard side. However, when staff came and asked if we were happy with our meals, nanny wouldn’t tell the member of staff as she enjoyed all the other aspects of the meal.

On a previous visit (hen do in August), the starter portion of chicken wings with salt and pepper seasoning was like a mini meal in itself and wings were incredibly succulent. The scotch egg with piccalilli was a gamble which paid off as the egg yolk was not overcooked like in many establishments and was a vibrant orange colour giving the impression it was a free range, high quality large egg. The fish and chips served in a barrel lid was also an incredibly large portion and went down well.

We didn’t order deserts on this trip or the previous trip as we had no space left but the kids chocolate brownie was incredible….. crisp on the outside and gorgeously moist on the inside served alongside some well flavoured and creamy vanilla ice cream (which sat on a bed of popcorn), two toasted marshmallows and a little pot of toffee dipping sauce. As already mentioned, you cant argue with the kids portion sizes and value for money.


Little Buccaneers chocolate brownie. 

What else is on offer for families....

There is a magician who visits each Friday and on alternate Sundays children can enjoy getting their faces painted.

Cocktails and the rum room....

There is an extensive drinks menu which of course allows diners to choose from over 150 different rums ‘plundered from voyages around the globe’ which can be enjoyed at your table or in the cosy, atmospheric Rum Room. There is an impressive range of exotic cocktails with live music each night. For a real treat, you could even book onto a cocktail masterclass.

Cherry smash cocktail: Plantation 3 star rum, Lanique Spirit of Rose, cherry purée, blueberry liqueur, almond syrup and lemon juice. £7.25
Your finest fruit juice please! Smugglers Cove bar area.

I have a dog....

Smugglers Cove is one of Liverpool’s dog friendly restaurants as dogs are welcome in the bar area where you are also welcome to eat.

So to conclude...

We had a lovely family meal in unusual and quirky surroundings. Staff were attentive and the waiting time for food was reasonable. Portion sizes are generous which makes the meals good value for money. The location is great and in the summer you could enjoy your meal on the barrels overlooking the Albert Docks. We will be back for more of those salt and pepper chips soon!

Smugglers Cove Rum Room

Other hints and tips...

1. The restaurant is incredibly popular, located right on the Albert Dock. Given we were only offered high tables on our last visit which we had to decline since the toddler couldn’t reach, we booked online that morning and would recommend you do the same.

2. Take some colours or books to keep kids entertained. The server hunted high and low for colours for us but unfortunately only had something to colour, not the colours themselves.

3. Take some cutlery more suitable for little ones. They don’t have smaller sizes.

4. Most of the food is served either as a hanging skewer with a wooden bowl below or on a wooden board. We liked this attention to detail but some diners prefer plates so simply ask for a plate and staff will accommodate this request.

5. Download the My New World app to turn 5% of your bill into credit for a future visit.

Additional information and terms and conditions....

*Menu and prices are subject to change at the establishments own discretion and without prior warning.
*Space for prams is available.

*This review is based on our own experiences and reflects an honest review. We can not guarantee your experience will be the same as we are not affiliated with this business in any way. 

*All images are subject to copyright so please seek permission from Clued in with kids if you wish to use said images.

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