Three years ago, when I first dined at Liquid Bread Gastropub in downtown Campbell, the lasting impression was that the food and drinks were excellent and the prices were high for small portions. The meal was memorable for the well-cooked squab, veal pasta, and perfectly paired sides with each entree. On my most recent visit, the restaurant proved that it remains consistently adventurous with its menu and extensive drink selection while improving on portion sizes.

The gastropub is still popular as ever on a weekend night and wait time for dinner without a reservation was 30-45 minutes. Still dimly lit to achieve the pub ambiance, the interior has been rearranged to make the space slightly more comfortable for dining. The bar has been located to the front window rather than at the back near the kitchen. The menu is still three pages worth of drink selections and one single-sided page of food items divided into categories like Graze, Browse, Prey, and Sweetness.

Our meal started with the waitress’ recommendation of Figueroa Mountain Paradise Pilsner ($7) in response to a request for a light, blonde, Hefeweizen style beer. The pilsner hit the mark and was as close to our request as possible, though pilsner is not as buttery and sweet as Hefeweizen.

From the Browse menu, which seems to stand for hot appetizers, the Alligator Stew ($17) was too unique to pass up. It came in a medium-sized soup bowl with alligator meatballs, corn dough balls, and potato, celery, and carrot chunks, topped with cotija cheese. The description also includes corn smut, a fungus that grows on corn or also known as huitlacoche in Mexican cuisine. I could not spot the corn smut because the curry sauce was dark in color. The alligator meatballs were delicious and tasted almost like a subtle gamey frog or chicken meat. The stew was a bit salty and heavy on the curry although the soft corn dough balls and vegetable chunks provided a good break through the sauce. It was an interesting dish I am glad to have tried once, but may not order again due to the intensity of the flavors.

The first entree was the braised goat pasta ($22) made with squid ink spaghettini, curry sauce, celery shredded goat meat and garnished with orange zest. Like lamb meat, goat is very gamey and the braising in this dish did a great job to break down the meat into delicate manageable pieces.  The squid ink pasta was perfect with squid ink in the pasta rather than the sauce. It may not have been a wise choice on my part to pair curry sauce pasta after a curry sauce stew as the pasta dish was also a touch too salty and spicy. Fortunately, it was still an enjoyable dish that I would gladly order again.

Since the first two items were unique flavors, we balanced the second entree with a classic burger ordered rare ($20). Liquid Bread hit it out of the park with this burger in all elements of technique and flavor. A brown sear on the patty with a soft pink inside achieved our requested rare preference. The patty was sandwiched inside a toasted sesame bun, topped with Mizuna greens, slices of melty brie cheese, and a spread of cherry bacon marmalade that was at once sweet and savory. Is this cherry bacon marmalade bottled and sold for individual use? I need it on everything.

New restaurants often struggle with remaining consistent. It takes confidence to put things like alligator and goat pasta on the menu and stick by it. Some items I enjoyed from three years ago are still offered, such as the mussels and udon, and the bavette steak. It is evident in the menu and drink selections that Liquid Bread cares to curate the best and explore with unique ingredients. Food is still at the same higher price point as before but I am glad to note that portion sizes seem to have increased over the years while service and ambiance remain enjoyable as always.

Liquid Bread Gastropub
379 E Campbell Ave, Campbell