On Thursday night we finally got to try out Stix and Stones in Upper Queen Street in Belfast. It’s somewhere I’d wanted to go for a while now, as my only experience of cooking your own steak on a hot, sizzling stone had been in Portugal- and I loved it then!
The steak and seafood restaurant has been open for around 10 months (April 2014) and so far, has gone from strength to strength. It’s run by brothers Daniel and Martin Courtney, and I’d heard great reports about the food.
We arrived about 6.30pm and were seated by our waiter David who asked us if we had been before and, as we had not, talked us through the ‘steak on a stone’ experience- that is, depending on how we like our steaks, exactly how they should be cooked. David was informative and certainly got us excited about what was in store!
Because it was before 7pm, we were able to avail of the pre-theatre menu which is two courses for £14.95 or three courses for £17.95. The restaurant holds around 136 diners and was already filling up by the time we got there. My mouth was definitely watering at the sound of the meat cooking next to us!
For starters I chose the Chicken wings which were covered in a teriyaki sauce and crème fraiche salsa, and served with a cucumber salad. There were about eight or nine wings in the dish- so a great sized portion for a starter. The chicken was juicy and came straight off the bone. The combination of the spicy teriyaki sauce with the soured salsa was also really interesting and flavoursome.
Barry chose the whipped Goats Cheese and Filo pastry starter, which came with pickled pears, quince jam and candied walnuts. Again, the different combinations of the flavours was something he remarked on– from the sweetness of the pears, to the slight tanginess of the goats cheese, there were top marks from him.
For mains we both selected the 8oz Rump of Beef (although Barry was toying with the Seared Tuna steak which also looked lovely). The mains come with a side dish which include hand cut chips, creamed potatoes, red onion and olive salad, or quails eggs. We both went for the hand cut chips.
I was so impressed when the steak came out- it was a large cut and extremely tender. To top it off, the flavour from cooking on the stone was gorgeous. Barry likes his steak rare while I am more medium/well, so it great to cook it yourself, exactly how you like it.
The steak comes with side of pepper sauce and normally I would use a lot of sauce, but I felt the steak was so tasty that it didn’t need very much. The stone stays hot for around 45 minutes so we were able to cook our steak bit by bit, just as the waiter had recommended.
Finally for dessert, we shared the Chocolate and Hazelnut Brownie (which comes with Vanilla ice cream and blood orange foam), and the Caramel Panna Cotta (served with banana sorbet and spiced bread.) To highlight the brownie and spiced bread in particular- the brownie, which was served warm, was succulent and gooey, while the homemade spiced bread had a gorgeous familiar ‘Christmas spice’ taste to it.
Overall, Stix and Stones didn’t disappoint- the place was warm and welcoming, the staff (and in particular, David) were friendly, the stone experience is novel, and the food was top notch- and all at under £18 each! No doubt we’ll be here again soon!
Goats Cheese and Filo pastry
Rump of Beef
Steak on a Stone
Caramel Panna Cotta
Chocolate and Hazelnut Brownie