Hidden treasures of the beaten track

Hidden treasures of the beaten track

I would never class myself as a connoisseur but whenever I visit Cabovino I feel like one. Having lived in New Brighton for around 18 months, I have taken great pleasure in discovering hidden little places off the beaten track and in Cabovino I found a real gem. A quirky wine bar on Victoria Road, Cabovino is a connoisseur’s paradise — with fine wines, cheeses and refined tapas dishes to please the most sophisticated of palates. With so much hustle and bustle on the promenade and at Marine Point, it was refreshing to find a quiet retreat to escape the chaos. Set back behind the promenade, Victoria Road used to be a busy market street but is now a relaxed road harbouring small, friendly businesses that all look after each other.
Celebrating its one year anniversary recently, Cabovino is a family run wine bar with a distinctly European style that serves a selection of tapas. Alex and Christine Downes are passionate workaholics who have always had keen eyes for fine food and drink and thought a place like Cabovino was missing from the area. Christine is WSET (Wine & Spirits Education Trust) qualified and the wonderfully detailed drinks menu is a sign of the vast knowledge and attention to detail at Cabovino!
Cabovino was opened primarily as a wine bar, serving unique wines from all over the world and a bespoke selection of cheeses, but with Christine’s stepfather, Peter, working wonders with freshly baked breads it has become a favourite for both drinking and dining amongst those in the know. The tapas menu has evolved over the last year and provides diners with delicious food, all freshly prepared on site. With this in mind, Cabovino can cater easily for all dietary requirements including celiac, vegan and vegetarian.
I attended with my friend, Joy (a genuine connoisseur), on a Wednesday evening and we decided to sit inside despite the urge to go continental and sit outside on a warm June evening. Music consisting of acoustic guitar and vocals played softly and candles flickered as we felt immediately relaxed inside the cosy wine bar — we agreed that this place would be ideal for a romantic date, especially if you wanted to impress! With each wine on the menu detailed down to the drop, speciality spirits such as Liverpool Gin and Angostoura Rum and an array of things I’d never heard of, we were playfully perusing the drinks menu with intrigue. The house tapas menu was in itself fascinating, with some specials added to the mouthwatering mix of classics.
Whilst deciding on what to choose to eat and feeling rather sophisticated, we were provided olives (marinaded in oregano, garlic, black pepper and their Molino La Condesa olive oil) and after talking with Alex, I became educated in the intricacies of olive oil. I requested the Costa Cruz rose wine which was intense, elegant and fruity and whilst on the subject of wine, Alex brought out a four year old Rioja for us to sample, Vina Del Oja, which was rich, smokey and distinctly classy — even I could tell that this was something quite special. As we scoured the tapas menu, we asked quite a few questions about the various dishes and credit where credit is due — Alex knew everything inside out and asked us on spice preference. We made our final decision and opted for Prawns Pil Pil, Chicken and Chorizo Skewers, Strawberry, Walnut and Goats Cheese Salad, Camembert, Nachos and Chicken Goujons.
We lost ourselves in conversation as the music played gently and when the tapas dishes arrived I was pleasantly surprised by the hearty and generous sized servings. The giant prawns in the Prawns Pil Pil were fresh and came with a spicy kick to the sauce, whilst the Chicken and Chorizo Skewers were thick, juicy and doused in herbs, garlic and olive oil. The Strawberry, Walnut and Goats Cheese salad was my favourite as the combination of strawberries and goats cheese hit me with a strawberries and cream twist I had never experienced before — something very unique and beautiful indeed. The Camembert was a pure goo fest with the outer shell providing a pot for the melted cheese and the redcurrants complimenting nicely. The Nachos were aplenty and with all the expected accompaniments. The Chicken Goujons sounds like a basic choice but, as with the salad, these were also very unique with the garlic breadcrumbs and Peter’s spicy chilli relish (they sell this by the jar due to popular demand).
The six tapas dishes were plenty for us (despite the alluring dessert menu) and as our evening came to a close we had time to sample a couple more fine wines. The Sauvignon we were recommended had a zesty citrus spark to it and was crisp and playful — I do not usually drink white wine but this was one of the nicest I have tried. Before we left we had the chance to talk more with Alex and Christine. When I first visited Cabovino not long after it had opened a year ago, I remember being struck by how genuinely polite and sincere the owners were and it seems they have not lost this intimate touch. In a seaside town that has become slightly overwhelmed by big chains and the hype of the waterfront, I find great satisfaction in discovering small family run establishments such as Cabovino — where care and attention to detail is never sacrificed.

Cabovino occasionally has wine tasting evenings and other events. The next event will be a beer tasting evening on 5th July at 7.30pm at £15pp. For more info: