Smithdown Road offers a treasure trove of delicious delights. Everything from mouthwatering Mexican (Evil Eye Burrito and Mesquite) and tantalizing Thai (Tiger Rock and Thai Kitchen), to outstanding pizza (My eternal favorite, Tribeca) and brilliant burgers (The Tavern Co. and Portland 358) is available on South Liverpool’s very own cosmopolitan heaven. With this in mind, I decided it was time to review some of Smithdown’s best spots for hungry students.

The Taproom has cultivated a reputation for serving up fantastic beer since opening in March 2017. Such commitment to craft beer is exemplified by the bar’s hosting of regular collaboration with brewers, including the perennially award winning Tiny Rebel. As an avid enthusiast of real ale and craft beer, it is amazing to have somewhere like the Taproom (alongside the equally amazing Handyman’s Supermarket) just on the doorstep.

Yet the Taproom is much more than just a brilliant beer bar. They also host infamously good pub quizzes and collaborate regularly with local food producers to host delicious events. Having missed the last such event – ‘Taco Tuesday’ – I was determined to appease the food Gods for my terrible transgression. So I gathered up a group of friends and headed down to ‘Pie, Pint and Pudding’ (did ever three words sound so delectable?).

Oh what to choose? Photo Credit: The Gluten Free Pie Company.

The premise of the event was simple. Combine two exceptional, and both totally vegan, food producers (The Gluten Free Pie Company and Cakehole Bakery), add good beer, then let the good times roll. It worked a treat. The offering for main course was four different, all equally tempting pies. So tempting, in fact, I was stood around like a melon for 10 minutes trying to decide. These were: ‘Fake ‘N’ Ale’, ‘Blind Scouse’, ‘Mexican Chilli’ and last, but most definitely not least, the award winning ‘Moroccan Butterbean’. Having overcome my pie-induced existential crisis, I finally plumped for the Mexican Chilli. This turned out to be the best decision since the Labour Party elected Corbyn leader.

While the waiting time was a tad extensive (about 40 minutes), the staff were very apologetic, even going so far as to give us a free pitcher of larger. That’s one way to appease hungry students. And the wait was worth it: the pie was so scrumptiously good, totally debunking my misconception that gluten free, vegan pie couldn’t be delectable. The inside was jam-packed with delicious vegan chilli. The pastry was crispy and delectable. The sides, sweet potato mash and guacamole, were delicious and the only fault I can find is that I could have devoured ten times more. Each of my friends concurred, with one even stating ‘it’s the best pie I’ve had since turning veggie’.

The marvellous Mexican Chilli. Photo Credit: The Gluten Free Pie Company.

The night couldn’t get better, could it? Oh yes it could! Next up was dessert. Two were on offer: Sticky Toffee Pudding and gluten free Chocolate Brownie. All four of us went for the former. Another momentous decision. Having eaten a lot of sticky toffee pudding over the years, I consider myself somewhat of an authority on this important subject. I can only say this was the zenith. The sticky toffee pudding all other sticky toffee puddings look to for inspiration. A soft, gooey ball of caramel delight.

The pie, pudding and a pint of Dorian Gray lager come to the princely sum of just twelve pounds. A fair price to pay for some of the best food I’ve eaten in Liverpool.

Overall rating: 9/10.