Last Saturday I was invited down to sample the new “Stay Bar” menu at Birdcage in Stranmillis. I’d been to the restaurant a number of times a few years ago but not recently, so was looking forward to seeing how it had changed.
The idea of the “Stay Bar” menu is….well, you literally stay at the bar! It’s a chance to meet with friends, drink cocktails and nibble at some light bites, without having to go for a big meal! Think a mid-week catch up or a bite to eat after the theatre or cinema. Have a look at the menu here.
The menu is filled with tapas-style dishes, known as “small plates” and “pecks”, ranging from £3 to £7.95. Having previously lived in Spain, I’ve always loved tapas so couldn’t wait to get stuck in once I saw the extensive menu.
Firstly from the small plates, we sampled the vegetable tempura which came with a soy, lime and chilli dipping sauce followed by the chorizo soaked in red wine and thyme. We also sampled the whitebait with homemade tartar dunk and fresh lemon. I have to admit I’m not a huge fan of fish so only tried a small bit of whitebait but the other 2 dishes were delicious, particularly the chorizo. The red wine really complemented the spicy, smoky flavours of the chorizo. The small plates cost £3 each or 3 for £8 and 5 for £13.
We then moved on to the “pecks”. Firstly we tried the arancini chorizo and thyme risotto balls (£5.95). These were two large arancini balls served with the most amazing burnt lemon and whipped feta dip. I can’t rave enough about the dip (I think I did about three times to the owner!)
We then tried the nachos, which came with melted cheese, jalapenos, guacamole, salsa and sour cream. For their price (£5.95), the plate was huge and it really is enough for a tasty, filling snack.
We then moved on to two further ‘pecks’- the 1/2 dozen chicken wings (£5.95) and the baked flat bread (£7.95), which was topped with rocket, 3 cheeses and avocado. Again, top marks for both and very filling as a light bite.
As if that wasn’t enough, we were then treated to icecream for dessert; but not just ordinary vanilla- Prosecco and ginger, no less! Beautiful!
We washed down the food with cocktails from their large cocktail list (16 to be precise.) I picked the Bramble, which is gin, blackburrant, lemon and sugar, while Barry chose the Amaretto Sour, which is Amaretto, Angostura Bitters, lemon, egg white and sugar. If I’d been out for the night, I definitely would have had more!
Honestly, we had the best night and the food is top notch. As you know, I really enjoy eating out but this is one place I’d go back in a hurry! It has a very cool, laid back vibe about it- somewhere you might see in London or Sydney. Check it out!
Selection of ‘small plates’
Selection of ‘small plates’
Arancini and chicken wings
Baked flat bread