Review: Birdcage, Belfast

I guess a month is a bit long to sit on a restaurant review. Consistency around here can be a problem plate to plate, let alone month to month. But after a hectic few weeks of work I just had to get back to our Birdcage photos and give a few thoughts. And they’re not really on the food, so let’s get that out of the way real quick with a particularly nondescript overview… 

Things didn’t start well with the ‘munchbread’ (or is it ‘crunchbread’?) which I imagine is made by leaving crostini on a warm, damp window ledge for a few hours. Whatever you do, don’t cover them lest some of the crunch remains. I hope by now someone has told them this is not appetising.

But who’s there for the munchbread?! Time for chicken, chicken and more chicken. The soy garlic blew away the under-seasoned, but well cooked buttermilk variety. The bland curry brochettes bringing up the rear on a rocket salad that really was 100% rocket…

Sides didn’t garner much enthusiasm - wonderful potato salad, good slaw and a flavourless bowl of chipotle beans.

Drinks are delivered as huge, murky jars filled with drab looking leaves - was this the ‘fresh mint’ jar? Flavour was ok, but I wouldn’t bother again.

I actually love the idea of the sambuca ice cream dessert and the implementation was almost there, just needed a healthy glug of sambuca on top to bring out the aniseed flavour.

So there you go, the food was patchy but basically good and surely better now a month a passed. Place itself is great too; on a day like today I’d say sitting out on the terrace downing jam jars and crunching chicken would be one of the best places in the city.

But. And for me this is a pretty big one.

Birdcage is such a blatant and total rip off of Crackbird in Dublin. Not just the fried chicken concept… but… everything. The tin buckets, the menu, the jam jars, the types of drink, the ‘burnt lemon and whipped feta’ dip, the font used, the word ‘brochettes’, bottle openers tied to the table - they’ve taken everything right down to the light fittings.

Is it that hard to imagine a different way to sell chicken? I’ve never seen such a spectacular lack of imagination or brazen ‘borrowing’ of a whole restaurant concept. I don’t really know how much it should matter to a diner, but to me it just feels wrong.

And they haven’t quite perfected the recipes yet - perhaps another research trip down to Dublin, chaps?

Would we go back? We enjoyed the food enough to be dragged back with friends - but you know we’ll be sat there constantly shaking our heads and thinking ‘you cheeky bastards’.

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Review: Ace, Belfast

Looking for another burger to fuel our ‘best burger’ post (coming, oh, some time in December at this rate) we thought we’d try out the Gourmet Burger Bank on the Belmont Road… 

Ah. How did we miss that Ace has now landed and claimed the turf in the name of hip, urban dining? And damn, it seems to be a rather popular - bunged with families and a queue almost out the door. Is this the new Il Pirata?

Well it certainly looks the part - taking heavy cues from its (relative) neighbour with some of the same names backing the venture and the outfitting apparently done by the same talented guys. Hip, funky, plenty of wood, a sprinkling of retro and just enough mismatch to add the quirk without the thrift shop stylings of Made In Belfast.

The current menu is fairly brief with just enough to provide a little variety, albeit nothing really leaping off the page; burgers, hotdogs and a random assortment of ‘suppers’. We started things simple with the tasty crunch of the huge aubergine chips. Rich batter, tasty aubergine, a rather dull raita-esque dip; but all in all a winner.

The ‘chilli glaze’ chicken wings failed to deliver much ‘chilli’ or ‘glaze’. The best approximation would be chicken wings dipped in a pot of tomato soup. Not sure what is going on there, it’s not often chicken wings get a ‘no’ from us.

What followed was the only ‘bad’ dish we had - a Moroccan spiced butternut squash salad that seemed to contain the innards of several mince pies left over from Christmas. A really odd combination that left the welcome preserved lemon to fight back against the overwhelming sticky sweetness of the rest of the plate.

After a so-so start, we were a little nervous of the mains, but actually things picked right up. A delightfully smokey, spicy pulled pork slider did everything you’d want it to do. Perfect seasoning, perfect bap, perfect size.

The Classic Burger was another success. Housing a sizeable patty that arrived with a hint of pink, resulting in a juicy burger (a rare thing in Belfast) with a wonderfully coarse texture. So we came in for a burger and we left happy!

The onion rings were also excellent, blowing away the sad floppy discs we encountered at Rocket & Relish last week. So damn crunchy, and the onion cooked to a nice sweetness inside. Best in Belfast?

To end on a rather bum note, though, I imagine if Ace were to describe the desserts they might say ‘children’s party inspired’. A less generous description would be ‘suitable for a children’s party’. The idea sits well with the hip/retro/school chairs vibe… but you really could rustle these up at home in a couple of minutes.

The cookie and icecream was as decribed - but neither the cookie nor icecream being good enough to elicit any more than a weary ‘meh’.

Would we go back? Early days, and signs that the style will one day be caught up by the substance. If this was in my neighbourhood I can imagine popping in for the odd bite… but despite being only the shortest drive from town, I can’t imagine going out of my way. Let’s see how things are shaping up in a couple of months.

Ace, 20-22 Belmont Road, Belfast.

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Review: Molly’s Yard, Belfast

It’s been years since we were last in Molly’s Yard - nestled up alongside Queen’s and tucked behind those iconic gates and the cutesy little court yard. In fact this was one of the ‘Bites earliest dates, so we doubtless bored our dining chums @daydreamfoodie and @mattpottery with the odd trip down memory lane…

So what has changed in that time? Well, to be honest, not a great deal - but Molly’s isn’t really about keeping up with in vogue ingredients, trendy cuts of meat or delivering wacky desserts like those novelty balloons. Rather the focus is on celebrating Irish produce in home style, familiar ways.

Unfortunately we were rather slow of the mark getting this written (damn real world!) so with memories fading we’ll just have to hand this over to the photographs below - huge portions that pretty much taste as they look!

One nice touch was the presence of the ever wonderful Abernethy Fudge and Co Couture chocolates on the menu. Our plan to divide them up and take them home lasted for all of about five minutes before the last crumbs disappeared. Served with some Suki ’Apple Loves Mint’ tea, this was a great way to finish a meal.

Would we go back? We’re probably not the target market for Molly’s Yard. You probably know by now that we are the kind of people who would coo when that edible balloon was delivered to the table. But if you want hearty, filling, comfort food served with great beer on tap, I think Molly’s is exactly what you are looking for.

Above: Terrine of Irish game with toasted brioche, black and red currant sauce.

Above: Hand dived Strangford scallops wrapped in prosciutto ham with creamed celeriac and basil oil.

Above: Roast Fermanagh chicken breast with cured bacon, Irish honey and black pepper glazed parsnips and spinach gnocchi.

Above: Dry aged Irish ribeye with pan-fried colcannon cake, garlic mushrooms, brandy and green peppercorn sauce.

Above: Pan-fried fillet of sea bass with crab crushed potatoes, roast lemon and fennel velouté.

Above: Pan roasted venison with celeriac and potato dauphinoise, braised red cabbage, cranberry and onion jus.

Above: Hilden’s Scullion on tap.  

Above: Just jersey ice cream sundae with blood oranges, raspberry coulis and nutty praline.

Above: great way to add a sweet finish to the meal!

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Review: Deanes Seafood Bar, Belfast

Ugh, thank goodness February is over. No offence to the normally harmless month, but thanks to a hectic mixture of work, training courses and minor illnesses we’d had enough of February half way through it.

With all that behind us, it was a relief to finally get into town over the weekend and grab a bite to eat.  Having just completed a lengthy shop (the kind where Mr. Bites is left in the Apple store, while Mrs. treks around House Of Fraser) we were suitably starving when we sat down at a window seat in Deane’s Seafood Bar on Howard Street for a long overdue lunch.

The space they have created is beautiful. Doubtless helped by the rare sunny day, the whole place was flooded with light from the huge windows and immediately evoked a Mediterranean seaside bistro. Even the menus with their ‘hand drawn’ fonts bought into this charming, summery vibe that was hundreds of miles from the grey clad building we had stepped inside.

The menu reads predominantly simple and fresh. No raw bar, but most of the common sea dwellers show up at some point, with a steak thrown in the mix to satisfy the usual non-seafood eater in a group.

First up for us were the oysters (£2.25 each); a lovely crisp shell of tempura, with a dash of a Thai sweet chilli sauce and sprinkling of sesame seeds on top. As tasty a bite as it was, sadly the oyster itself was lost in the stronger flavours.

The whitebait (£4) suffered a similar fate from a breadcrumb batter that turned the delicate morsels into something of a micro fish finger. Again, they were tasty, but a dusting of flour is all the little critters need to be shown at their best.

The grilled scallop (£3.50) arrived perfectly cooked like a plump marshmallow resting on a bed of samphire and pancetta chunks with a light hint of garlic. Truly excellent preparation and a perfect piece of ‘tapas’ - the best scallop since Mourne Oyster Bar’s ceviche!

Our final starter (yes, we’re still going) was the bowl of crevettes (£6.50) in a rich garlic butter with a serving of sourdough bread. Fat prawns loaded onto that glorious bread… fantastic.

When it came to mains, we were surprised to find that the £6.50 lunch is still on offer at the weekend, so picked a couple to try. The salt and chilli squid came in the kind of light batter that would have suited the whitebait - a lightly seasoned crust with well cooked chunks of squid beneath, a few crunchy tentacles thrown in there for good measure. The accompanying chilli jam completed a great implementation of the classic combination.

The crab mayonnaise on toast was another winner. While at first the chips seemed superfluous, throw one onto the toast the whole thing works. Bright, fresh crab meat, hot crunchy chips - this is a great lunch in itself.

With room (just about) for a shared dessert, the choice was a no brainer; bring on the key lime pie (£5)! Arriving as a deconstruction of meringue, creamy lime curd and trail of chocolate crumb, this was almost perfect… but fell down at the most important piece, the curd was simply not limey enough. Whack a bit more citrus in there, ramp up the tartness and you have one of the best desserts in town. But just because it wasn’t perfect, doesn’t mean it wasn’t seriously good.

From first sitting down to grabbing our shopping and leaving, the whole place was bunged, but the attentive service seemed to take it all in its stride. Overflow tables found themselves redirected to Deane’s ‘proper’ next door where the same menu was available, but there was something about the combination of the brilliant white dining room, menu, casual bar and bustle that was really quite special. Fresh Sardines in beach cafe in Greece, squid on a roof terrace in Cyprus… that feeling is available right now in Belfast city centre.

Would we go back? Superb lunch and really great feeling to the place. We’re pretty sure it wasn’t just the sunshine that made the Seafood Bar feel special - I guess we’ll just have to head back some rainy day…

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Review: Cayenne, Belfast

We’ve have some very uneven experiences with Cayenne over the years - to the point that last year we swore off it, in spite of its many supporters.  Disappointing food, odd staff. Alas the blog didn’t even exist at the time so it couldn’t even be salvaged as an entertaining post.

But a couple of weeks ago a great little article over at the Irish Times put the Belfast stalwart back on our radar. If you haven’t read it yet, it gives a great impression of Belfast’s foremost ‘TV chef’, Paul Rankin. The highs and lows make for interesting reading and Paul comes across a genuine and honest guy who really wants Cayenne to be delivering the best food and value in Belfast. We had to go back and find out if he was achieving his goal.

Dining early, it was a no brainer for us that we would be going for the pre-theatre menu. It isn’t just that at around £18 this is superb value, but also that the a la carte has pretty much identical plates. So head down early and save yourself a few quid.

Unfortunately the pigeon salad starter (above) that arrived first was experiencing a bit of an identity crisis. Was it a good pigeon salad, or a very good blue cheese salad? Sadly the two stronger flavours found no common ground, in spite of both pairing well with the pickled squash and confit pear salad that surrounded them.

Meanwhile, the goats cheese souffle had great texture and made for a lovely light starter. The only downside being the almost entire lack of any goats cheese flavour. Good enough, but a case of taking subtlety a little too far.

The main of lemon and panko breaded hake (above) was an impressive hunk of fish that was delivered more than a shade overdone. The resulting firm, meaty texture coupled with the thick crumb robbed the fish of any delicacy you might expect. Not quite the end of the world and thankfully the accompaniments of lime chilli lentils, wasabi potato salad and sauce gribiche were good enough to bring the dish back round into the positive.

The Venison Bolognese was also good; full of rich earthy flavours from venison, mushrooms and a dose of parmesan.

Desserts are where Cayenne really started to meet it’s potential. While the chocolate fondant (above) was good, it was the wonderful salted caramel and malt ice cream that really did it for us - the salt and malt giving a wonderfully savoury background to the sweetness.

Our second dessert, the pear and lime crumble, was a similarly blessed with a touch of savoury in the form of the sour cream ice cream. The sourness of the lime and ice cream well matched to the smooth, sweet pears.

Would we go back? While we may not have been blown away by the savoury courses, the answer has to be a ‘yes’ for good food and great value. £18 for three courses means that Paul is definitely hitting his ‘value’ target, but there is still a little way to go before the quality matches the best in Belfast.

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Review: Sunday brunch at Bert’s Jazz Bar, Belfast

It pains me that I have to open this post with a picture of an omelette. How could I be sat in such a gorgeous bar - complete with stage and singer - and forget to take a single snap of the place? Luckily if you just imagine a ‘jazz bar’, Bert’s (at the back of the Merchant Hotel) has pretty much nailed it.

Moody blacks and reds, booths that hug the wall up to the stage - all it is missing is a fug of smoke to welcome you.

We headed in on Sunday afternoon when the main menu is bolstered by a good value brunch menu that tempted us with the Eggs Arnold Bennett (above).

Not only was the omelette packed with Ewing’s finest smoked fish, it also came in the cutest little copper pan. This would make for a fantastic breakfast - only the £10 price tag raising a few eyebrows (athough more than likely you’d be on some kind of ‘meal deal’ that would be much better value).

Departing the brunch menu we headed into heartier fare - the duck rillettes (above) was a great savoury start - served with a warm beetroot soup and crusty bread.

One of the benefits of heading along with @daydreamfoodie and @mattpottery was more dishes to steal a fork load off, hence the starters keep on coming. The mushroom, tarragon and gruyere tart (above) was a great example of a classic tart - light crunchy pastry around the gloriously gooey filling.

Not pictured are the ham hock and black pudding croquettes but these strong flavoured morsels are definitely worth your time. Served with pork crackling - this is a dish that deserves a pint of beer.

The macaroni cheese (above) doesn’t look like you might expect - this one was filled with mushrooms and loaded with truffle oil. God it was good.

The pan roasted cod (above) was a comforting dish for a cold day. Buttery peas a la Francais, warm crushed potatoes and a well cooked chunk of fish on top.

Thanks to our mandatory plate swapping policy, a shared Chateaubriand (above) is something we would never go for - so thanks again to our dining partners for opening new doors! A beautiful piece of meat that arrived a touch over the medium rare, but was nonetheless as smooth a mouthful as you could ask of a bit of beef. The accompanying sauces were great, especially with the wonderful (if not quite piping hot) string fries. Wonderfully salty sticks of potatoey goodness.

The only disappointment of the meal was the chocolate mousse with salted caramel and banana (above). A sweet, but rather bland mousse somewhat crudely piped onto a runny caramel sauce beneath. Neither good nor bad, this mousse belongs in the land of the Rolo Choc Pot.

In terms of pure flavour, the triumphant sweet was the (sadly unpictured) pear tart tatin, the fruit caramelised to sticky perfection.

If you really want a ‘wow’ with your dessert, then go for the baked Alaska. The picture doesn’t really show the scale, but there were no volunteers to show that the meringue makes this dessert (for two, mind!) as big as your head.

Blobs of Neapolitan ice cream hidden beneath a mound of fluffy egg white and then doused in fruit sauce. Good and certainly a technical marvel; a higher quality ice cream underneath could make this the star of the menu.

Would we go back? The first time we tried Bert’s, we weren’t convinced it was worth it for the food alone. But on a second look, we’re pleased to say that the kitchen seems to have been invigorated to produce the food that the stunning bar deserves. Jazz lover or not, a Sunday afternoon is the perfect time to head down, grab a bite and hang out for an hour or two.

A three course meal came in at around £25, but for February (at least) they are running some pretty appealing deals that will have you fed and watered on the cheap. Be prepared for a £10 per person music supplement on some nights of the week.

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Review: Nibbles and dinner at The Salty Dog, Bangor

Bangor might not be that far away, and @derekcreagh might have been responsible for our favourite meal in Northern Ireland in 2011, but sometimes you need a little nudge to hop in that car and make your way back to the seaside and The Salty Dog.

The nudge we needed was Derek’s promise to feed the drinkers with some nibbles to accompany the beers. As we say, all it takes is a little nudge to get us on the road.

Coming as a simple selection of either ‘Small’ or ‘Big’ Dog, the smaller collection of nibbles is a simple selection of salty crunches along with some ‘peanut butter hummus' and some olives for good measure. The chilli roasted corn in particular will make you wish you left the car at home so you could pair it with a few more beers. 

Popping a couple of extra quid brings you into ‘Big Dog’ territory. To be fair we did super size our portions here so the actual nibbles plate won’t be quite so loaded with goodies. If you don’t go for the nibbles we implore you to have the squid as a starter - this was simply the best deep fried squid we’ve come across. A light batter with perfect crunch outside and soft, delicately flavoured squid within. All perfectly paired with a lightly perfumed saffron aioli. Perfect.

The sweet potato fries managed to pull off the miraculous feat of not disappointing. So many sweet potato fries sound great on paper and arrive as stodgy sticks. Not these beauties; crisped skins all the way down. The only blip was the vinegar heavy ketchup that had to be applied by the milligram to avoid overwhelming the fries.

These little bites aren’t quite on the nibbles menu - but our verdict is that needs to be fixed as soon as possible. A creamy salted cod mash (something like the Baccala Mantecato described here) sandwiched between two potato crisps makes for the most divine finger food you could imagine. 

These fishy bites also went swimmingly with the beer menu which seems to have grown since our last visit - with a couple of pages of interesting brews from around the world. An Orval (Belgian) and Barrel 5 Pale Ale (US) did the food the proud.

The Venison Scotch Egg currently lives on the starter menu, but surely Scotch Eggs and beer are another marriage made in heaven? Delivered with a sharp piccalily that cut through the rich greasiness of the egg this is another must.

The pigeon salad certainly makes for a beautiful plate - no wonder The Restaurant Pimp made this his Twitter avatar! Served with seemingly random pickled white carrot, breaded duck tongue, orange and cocoa nibs, everything miraculously comes together on the fork.

Concluding our savoury choices on a more traditional note; the Gloucester old spot bacon chop, calves liver, toffee apple and sage butter, black pudding, scallion mash. Too often liver arrives over cooked, but the chefs timed this to perfection, adding a wonderful texture to each bite.

This Ecclefechan Tart served with a Kearney blue cheese from Portaferry was a lovely little suprise from the kitchen. A creamy, salty blue played against the sweet fruit of the tart makes a wonderful bridge of savoury to dessert - definitely a touch of Fergus Henderson going on.

Despite having no room for it, we bravely ploughed on to a shared dessert - a classic sticky toffee pudding served with popcorn icecream and sprinkled with crunch popped corn.

The ice cream didn’t quite exhibit the buttery popcorn flavour needed to compete with the glorious sticky toffee, but the popped kernels delivered bursts that showed what a great combination this makes.

Whatever reservations you have about the Bridgestone Guide, it’s no surprise to see Derek Creagh listed as their only ‘Top 10 Hot Chef’ (ladies, please!) in Northern Ireland. At the Salty Dog it seems there is a team of chefs and wait staff that are playing at a level so much higher than the simple little hotel front above suggests.

Would we go back? Warm, welcoming staff and a chef that is keen to push beyond the constraints of a hotel bistro. The Salty Dog is one of Northern Ireland’s finest, it could only be better if they would just move to Belfast! 

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Review: Lunch at the Fitzwilliam Bar, Belfast

The Bar at the Fitzwilliam Hotel has been the venue for a few pre-dinner drinks before, but this is the first time we’ve ventured into the moody bar in the belly of the hotel looking for food. 

We started with the ‘Pigs in Blankets’. Basically ‘poshsage rolls’ made for beer accompaniment. On that note, the bottled beer list is superb. A light and perfumed Blue Moon and a plate of these is a pretty nice way to spend an afternoon.

The ‘pigs’ were apparently baked on demand, but needed a touch longer in the oven. The pastry hugging the sausage left a little on the flabby side. The tomato relish was a lovely; thick with smoky flavour and for once exceeding the safe option of good old reliable Heinz.

A sucker for a ‘refined classic’, I couldn’t resist the Belfast Pastie (£8) - that fritter of pork, onion and potato that we love to foist on unsuspecting visitors from the mainland. And like those visitors, I was a little disappointed. An aggressively salted patty of stuffing sandwiched between more carbs. It is what it is.

The Guinness Braised Beef Brisket Pie (£12) was one of those ‘fake’ pies. The pastry is relegated to a tasteless disc that balances apologetically on top of the stew without having had the chance to soak up any of the flavours during cooking.

The stew itself was good, although definitely some over zealous salting going on in that kitchen. The accompanying scallion mash was excellent.

Would we go back? The menu at the Fitzwilliam Bar is really quite appealing - particularly if you are making the most of the beer menu. Unfortunately heavy seasoning means there are safer bets within walking distance at a similar price - but I think this probably deserves another shot.

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Review: Il Pirata, Belfast

It was the last day of the Christmas holidays, so time to cling onto the good times with a trip over to Ballyhackamore to meet up with family (including our little niece) and give Il Pirata a proper look. And in the spirit of new year’s resolutions, we’ll even try not to sit on the review too long!

It’s hard to remember that just a couple of months ago the ‘industrial rustic’ interior was a KFC. Under the guidance of Beannchor group Executive Chef Tony O’Neill, interior designers Oscar & Oscar have clearly had a ball filling the space with warm, worn wood and mismatched furnishings that sit well together without making a fuss of their non-conformity.

Evidently we weren’t the only ones enjoying their last long Monday lunch for a few months as the large dining area was almost full. The only down side of this being that the single high chair was in use - no bother, our niece didn’t mind being passed around along with the small plates.

Ordering was simple; we wanted to try every small plate going and a plate of the braised brisket pappardelle.  

The chicken spiedini with pepper sauce was simply prepared with the tender roll of chicken surrounding a delicate touch of herbs that complemented, rather than overpowered, the lightly charred chicken.

A favourite on the opening night, the mushroom arancini (aka ‘risotto balls’!) are rich, creamy parcels of earthy comfort food that should not be missed.

The polenta chips with tomato sauce was a lovely rustic Italian take on the good ol’ fries and ketchup. 

The sweet baby peppers with ricotta and pinenuts were a little on the hot side for our taste buds, though the heat did take enough time to build to allow us to enjoy the cheese within.

The spiced pork slider was a hit on opening night and hasn’t changed since. The home made mixture is packed with fennel and laced with a pleasing chilli kick. 

The stuffed Portabello mushroom with pesto and parmesan was a wonderful full flavoured hit that benefitted from the fresh pesto and peppery rocket.

The Cazilli croquettes were good, but felt like a side that was missing a main or a dip. But maybe we’re just not fans of croquettes. Look, it’s me, not you. 

The slow braised beef brisket ragu with parpadelle was excellent. Thick strips of perfectly cooked pasta intertwined with generous chunks of shredded braised beef. This rich dish brightened by a dash of fresh tomato sauce and a sprinkling of parsley.

On to desserts and the Ameretto panna cotta with fruit compote was the only disappointment of the meal. The Amaretto completely disappeared into the thick cream, which lacked the texture of a panna cotta, leaving little more than a pot of stewed fruit and whipped cream.

Once wrestled from our niece (who was eager to eat it by the fist full), the tiramisu certainly made up for the panna cotta. A excellent example of a classic dish.

The spoon load of lemon posset (not pictured - the horror) we tried was fabulous - a sharp zing of raspberry jelly on top of a perfectly smooth posset. We didn’t get enough to award it the accolade of ‘best dessert’… but we have our suspicions. Something to confirm next time!

Would we go back? The above snap captures our feelings on Il Pirata. If only society permitted us all to shove the plate into our face, there were a number of dishes that would have got the licking-the-plate treatment and we only really tried the small plates…

A meal for two at Il Pirata sharing the above plates and a couple of drinks came in at around £40. Small plates hover around the £3 mark and mains come in at £8.

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Review: Quay, Sydney

Today’s competition over at FoodBelfast to name your favourite meal of the year has put us in a reflective mood… mostly reflecting on how many great meals we were lucky to have and how few of them we got around to posting about!

In fact we did manage to put our absolute favourite up (é by José Andrés, Las Vegas) but on our honeymoon we splurged so badly on eating out that there are another dozen photo sets of food porn just begging to be published.

So it may have been over six months ago, but Quay in Sydney was good enough to deserve having the photos shared. I won’t pretend we remember the details of many of the courses, just that the food matched the beautiful location on Circular Quay.

Above: Smoked Eel & Egg White Pearl, Sashimi Hiramasa Kingfish, Pickled Kohlrabi, Octopus, Nasturtiums, White Dashi Jelly

Above: No idea what this was! Answers on a postcard to…

Above: Black lipped abalone, pearl oyster, grey ghost mushrooms, rare breed pig belly, white turnips, ginger milk curd, earth and sea consomme

Above: Native Freshwater Marron, Rose Salt, Organic Pink Turnips, Jamon De Bellota Cream, Oloroso Caramel, Almonds, Society Garlic Flowers 

Above: Berkshire Pig Jowl, maltose crackling, prunes, cauliflower cream, perfumed with prune kernel oil

Above: Wagyu Beef, Poached in an Oxtail and Morel Reduction, Molé Puree, Farro & Ezekiel Crumbs

Above: Guava and Custard Apple Snow Egg

This picture really shows how great the location is. One side of the restaurant looks up to the Harbour Bridge while the other has panoramic views of the Opera House. That fact is included in the bill, but definitely worth it.

Above: Guava and Custard Apple Snow Egg

Above: Eight Texture Chocolate Cake

Despite not being massive fans of chocolate desserts (or perhaps because of it), this is actually the dish we can remember a bit about. This is the chocolate dessert to end all chocolate desserts. An unassuming disc that managed to hit every one of the textures it boasts - spectacular, even more so than the famous Snow Egg above!

Would we go back? If we lived in Sydney, yes; but with us just passing through and so many other great restaurants in this fantastic city I doubt there will ever be a restaurant good enough to visit twice!  If you are in the area you will enjoy a restrained but elegant and perfectly executed meal overlooking one of the most iconic views in the world. 

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