Castle Street, Liverpool
Review by Sarah Brown
With Salt Dog Slim’s and Santa Chupitos being my usual haunts come a Friday evening, I was delighted when I heard the team behind them was bringing a fresh new venue to the city: Santa Maluco.
Serving up Italy’s best export (pizza, of course) with a distinctive splash of Brazilian flair, I couldn’t wait to try the Graffiti Spirit Group’s latest offering as my date and I ventured to the Castle Street restaurant.
Stepping inside we knew we were in for a good evening. The lively décor nodded to Brazil’s vibrant urban scene while maintaining that all important hint of laidback Liverpool cool.
Keen to sample the cocktail selection I opted for a São Paulo Spritz (£8.50); a refreshing mix of Cachaça (Brazil’s most popular spirit), Aperol, orange and rhubarb, topped off with a healthy dose of prosecco. Ever a lover of gin, my dining companion opted for a St Germain Punch (£7.50) – gin, elderflower, fresh lime and Peychaud’s bitters topped with Ting and cream soda – an ode to the classic cola cubes of my childhood.
Santa Maluco serves up its pizza rodizio style (£15 per person or £3 per slice) – an all-you-can-eat concept where slices keep on coming throughout the meal, allowing diners to sample all of their favourite toppings. Cooked in a wood fired oven, Santa Maluco’s pizzas guarantee an authentic taste and a textbook crispy base.
With Rio De Janeiro’s iconic Christ the Redeemer watching over us we tucked into our first slice, ‘the Davide’. A simple combination of creamy buffalo mozzarella, fresh green pesto and cherry tomatoes – the perfect slice to start with.
Our second helping, ‘the BBQ club’, promised pulled pork and marinated chicken specially imported across the city from Slim’s Pork Chop Express. Needless to say hopes were high. With just the right amount of tang from the BBQ base, this was a firm favourite of the evening.
Dubious at first, we opted to try a slice of ‘What the duck?’ – shredded duck, spring onions, cucumber and char siu – which can often be meagre in coverage, but were suitably impressed by the generous level of toppings on Santa Maluco’s offering.
Close to defeat we tried ‘the American’, topped with cuts of spinata, pancetta, and spicy sausage. Spicy meat balanced with a cool requeijão sauce was the winning combination of the night.
In need of another drink after the heat from ‘the American’ I opted for a zesty El Diablo – Tequila, cassis and fresh lime topped with ginger beer – as my dining companion sipped on a refreshing blueberry Daiquiri from the project blender selection. Mixed with ice, this was the perfect summer option.
Never ones to turn down pudding we ended the evening with a slice of dessert pizza – a classic pizza base topped with Nutella, cookie crumble, blueberries, peanut butter and a dash of whipped cream for good measure. The selection of dessert pizzas on offer changes daily, and I challenge anyone to resist.
The relaxed ambience, social style of dining and, of course, mouth-watering pizza, make for a winning combination. Rodizio? It’s the future, trust me.