When I first started this blog I had hoped to post at least once a week or at least once every two weeks if things had been busy. So, three months after my last post, it’s time to come out of hibernation.
Whilst I haven’t been writing about it, I have been taking lots of pictures of the food I’ve eaten so I have LOTS to catch up on.
When I returned to Belfast for Christmas this year (feels very odd to be talking about Christmas with the sun blazing outside) my first port of call, as always, was the Mourne Seafood Bar in the city centre.
This restaurant has won countless ‘Best Restaurant’ awards but built up its excellent reputation with strong word-of-mouth recommendations and it’s not difficult to see why. The seafood is fresh (the small fish shop at the front of the restaurant underlines this point) and the dishes are executed perfectly.
What adds to the experience is the incredible affordability of the menu. You can easily have a beautifully cooked fish dish for a tenner.
Given that it’s a tricky manoeuvre to get a table at night (book in advance!) and the constant and lengthy queue at lunch time (there are no reservations for weekday lunches) it is refreshing to find such a popular and evidently accomplished restaurant keep their prices at a very accessible level. Indeed, it is one of my favourite aspects to the place – how varied the clientele is. When we went in December, there were American tourists (standard), a group of three old couples out for their Christmas meal (and wine by the looks of it!), business lunchers, couples etc etc You get the point.
My boyfriend claims it to be his favourite restaurant IN THE WORLD (but he can be a bit dramatic). Regardless, it’s certainly up there for me too.
When we visited in December, we started, as we always do with a double whammy of oysters. We tend to order ½ a dozen of the ‘Japanese’ style oysters which come with shredded cucumber, pickled ginger and spiced soy dressing (£8) and another ½ dozen of Oysters Rockefeller (also £8).
I love oysters in any shape and form but understand that they’re not to everyone’s liking. The Rockefeller style may yet convince even the fussiest of diners – cooked oysters in garlic, spinach and pernod with a lovely bacon and herb crumble on top. Ridiculously rich and absolutely delicious.
Because it was Christmas and I was feeling decadent and starting the festive season as I meant to go on (i.e. encouraging a good dose of gout) I also ordered the organic smoked salmon and wheaten bread plate. Simple, traditional and a dish I always crave in Brussels.
To drink I had a glass of Belfast Stout (locally brewed, obv) and he had the hot mulled cider.
For our mains we both ordered from the specials menu which is wonderfully extensive and again a testimony to the freshness of their produce.
I ordered the Dijon crusted cod with organic veg, romanescu rainbow carrots, baby amadine potatoes and herb cream (for just £10.50) and le boyf chose the fillet of monkfish with mushrooms, cabbage, green beans, bacon and chive mash and cep veloute.
His dish was slightly pricier at £16.50 (I was paying- go figure!) but was the most expensive fish dish on the menu so really not bad by Brussels standards.
Having filled our boots we abstained on dessert and opted for a stroll around a very cold but Christmassy Belfast!