Beef and Bird, Lisburn

Last week we headed to Lisburn to try out a restaurant which has recently opened in the Omniplex.

An area which is quite packed with restaurants and diners already, I was interested to see what would make Beef and Bird stand out from the pack.

I had a quick peek at the menu beforehand so I knew it was an American style eatery, with burgers, Spicy Chicken Louisiana and Philly Cheese steak jumping out at me.

We arrived on a Tuesday night and were shown to a private booth where our waitress introduced herself and told us she would be looking after us for the night.

We decided to go for starters and mains and then see if we had any room left for dessert. 

For starter I was totally intrigued by one dish in particular- Chorizo mac ‘n’ cheese popcorn! I’m a massive fan of both chorizo and mac ‘n’ cheese so I didn’t take a second look. Barry went for Crispy Salt and Chilli Calamari. 

My starter was popcorn-shaped balls of deep fried mac n cheese with small pieces of chorizo inside. It came served on a bed of salad and a homemade dip. They were tasty, warm and cheesy and a good sized portion. Barry also enjoyed his calamari- as a fan of anything which is salt and chilli!

For mains we both decided to try their signature burgers. Eating at a place called Beef and Bird, of course I had to go for the Beef and Bird burger! (It comes as either a 6oz or a 12oz.)

I chose the 6oz and thank goodness I did because it was massive – a burger topped with buttermilk fried chicken goujons and a huge amount of tobacco onions. In fact I didn’t even finish that burger never mind double the beef! The only thing I would say is that I felt the burger needed melted cheese or something similar as there was a lot of meat.

Barry selected the 12oz beef burger which came with tobacco onions, garlic mayo and rocket. Again, it was huge so make sure you come hungry!

In the end we couldn’t eat desserts as it would just be greedy but the options include peanut butter cheesecake, lemon meringue pie and Belgium chocolate brownie. I would have gone for the brownie!

Beef and Bird is a relaxed and casual diner,  which fits in well with the Omniplex for a quick, pre-cinema dinner!


Alfredo’s Lisburn

A new Italian restaurant has just opened its doors in Lisburn in the newly transformed Lisburn Square.

The area, which now houses the likes of restaurants, coffee shops and boutiques, is fast becoming a thriving part of the city centre.

One such restaurant is Alfredo’s owned by restaurateur Richard Graham, who previously owned Angelo’s in Lisburn.

Barry and I went along to sample the Italian delights last Tuesday with a menu that promises to “blend traditional with modern without overpowering one or the other.”

The restaurant focuses on homemade pastas and pizzas, with an added focus on fish and shellfish.

When we arrived it was fairly quiet, but it was just after 6pm so I suppose it hadn’t experienced its 7-8pm rush.

The starters range from £4.95 (for the likes of soup and bruschetta) right up to £7.95 for antipasta including chorizo, parma ham, salami, olives and breads.

To begin with I chose the Selection of Home Baked Italian Breads (£5.25), while Barry picked the Dundrum Mussels (£6.95). The breads were a good size (enough for two people) with delicious accompaniments of Tapenade and Virgin Olive Oil. Barry really enjoyed his mussels too and said the tomato and garlic sauce worked well with the shellfish.

For mains we both decided to go for pizzas! (As if I needed more bread!) I selected the POLLO pizza which was topped with roast chicken and basil pesto, costing £10.50. Barry went for the BIANCANEVE served with Parma Ham, chorizo, red onion & rocket, also £10.50.

Again, I liked the size of the portions and the base of the pizzas were thin and crispy. They had a much more authentic Italian taste than some of the pizza chains, so very enjoyable!

I would have liked less tomato sauce as it was too much in parts, but overall it was tasty and we cleared our plates. Alfredo’s has that nice mix of being a modern restaurant with authentic Italian food and it was good to experience what Lisburn Square has to offer!


 

 

Lisburn Visit: Larchfield Estate

A few years ago, my friend came home from England to get married in Larchfield Estate. Situated on the Upper Ballynahinch Road, just outside Lisburn, the old (1860s) stone barn really stood out to me as an ideal wedding venue for couples wanting something a little different. To this day, I always remember the large walled gardens- it’s a 600 acre site,to be precise!

So, as part of our trip to Lisburn last weekend, I was delighted to get to see what the new overnight accommodation there is like. We were booked into the Farm Cottage, which is one of the original carriage rooms on the estate, opened just last November.

The downstairs consists of an open plan kitchen and dining area, leading into a large sitting room. The upstairs has two twin rooms, both with en-suite. The wooden detail throughout gives it that lovely, warm country feel.

What was really welcoming was the hamper of local produce left in the cottage for us. Included was smoked salmon, wheaten bread, jam, granola, eggs, apple juice and more. Such a nice touch and we had a great breakfast on Sunday morning!

Larchfield has a unique charm and we had an extremely comfortable stay on Saturday night, both relaxing in the living room after our busy day in Lisburn and in the spacious bedrooms. The Farm Cottage would be a great place to stay for guests after celebrating a lovely wedding in the Estate.

 Farm cottage at Larchfield on a warm, spring day

  Dining area in Farm Cottage

Kitchen/Dining area  

Farm cottage living room

Bedroom 1 

 Bedroom 2

 Luxury breakfast hamper

Lisburn Visit: Del Toro steakhouse

On Saturday night, as part of our visit to Lisburn, we’d booked dinner at Del Toro Steak House and Urban Grill on Antrim Street. I’d had a sneaky look at the menu online beforehand so couldn’t wait to try the 28 day aged steak for myself!

We arrived about 8.30pm and the place was really busy- no doubt reflective of the tasty food which was to come. The place has a distinctive character, nicely lit up with lanterns dotted around the restaurant.

So, it was time for dinner. For starters I choose the warm chilli beef nachos, served with cheese, guacamole and sour cream. The chilli had a good spice to it- a nice kick, but not too overpowering. Mum went for one of the day’s special, Sticky BBQ pulled pork springroll. There were three large springrolls served with a Cashel Blue mayo and were just bursting with flavour. She savoured every bite!

For mains I went for one of the famous steaks- 12oz Sirloin served with Garlic cubes. No sauce was needed as an accompaniment, and you can tell steak is one of the restaurant’s specialties. Mum picked the Grilled Irish hake, which is served with potato terrine, smoked bacon and fine beans. Again, excellent remarks from her about the brilliant, complimentary flavours.

There was no room for dessert but we left fully satisfied. Not one bit of food was left on the plate and we will definitely be back soon!

Del Toro 

 Pulled Pork Spingroll

Chilli beef nachos 

12oz Sirloin

Grilled Irish hake

Lisburn Visit: Tour of Hilden Brewery

As part of our weekend trip to Lisburn, we were really looking forward to touring Ireland’s oldest independent brewery, Hilden Brewery. Having seen their different beers in pubs such as the Duke of York and Dirty Duck, I was curious to see the production of the beer and even sample a few at the end!

Hilden is a few minutes from the city centre, and the brewery’s not far from the Hilden railway stop- in fact, one of the beers is named after the stop, “Hilden Halt.”

Our tour started at 6pm and about 20 of us were welcomed by the owner, Seamus Scullion, who gave us a brief history of beer and also the history of the site itself (Hilden Brewery is the former home of Helen Barbour who married Thomas Andrews, Chief Designer of the Titanic!)

We then made our way into the production rooms where Seamus talked about the three key ingredients- malted barley (or “malt”), hops and water. He then told us about the work that goes into producing the drinks and how every single one gets its different flavours. He was really engaging and you could tell the distinctive taste of each craft beer is really important to them.

It was then back into the restaurant, the Tap Room, to sample a few of the beers for ourselves. We had the ‘Belfast Blonde’ (a light, crisp beer), the ‘Headless Hop’ (a ‘hoppy’ ale) and the aforementioned, ‘Hilden Halt’ (the strongest ale at 6.1%, with a ‘malty’ flavour).

Seamus came over to talk to us some more, including to tell us about where the ‘Headless Dog’ gets its name – a graffiti picture on an old brewhouse wall!  It was a great tour and it was fab to get talking to Seamus who is extremely passionate about the brewery- which definitely comes across in the beers!

Hilden Brewery

Sampling the malt  

Production in the brewery

Sampling the beers

 Belfast Blonde

Lisburn Visit: Irish Linen Centre and Lisburn Museum

On Saturday, as part of our weekend break in Lisburn, we visited the Irish Linen Centre and Lisburn Museum for the first time. The Centre, which is situated on Market Square, is a museum which explores the history of Irish linen, from the flax fibre, right through to the finished fabric such as tablecloths and handkerchiefs.

To be honest, I didn’t know much about the heritage so I thought it would be good to see the skill and expertise which went into creating the fine linen cloth over hundreds of years.

We made our way around the museum, stopping to listen to the expert guides and seeing live demos along the way. We were shown flax spinning and heard all about how the term ‘spinster’ derives from the fact that most of the spinners were unmarried women! (Not least because the work resulted in bad backs, limps and mouth sores!)

To finish, we saw the intricate techniques and detail needed in creating the final design on the fabric! Even back then, the precision was really impressive!

As I said, I didn’t know much about linen production but it’s an interesting , free museum which opens your eyes into the rich linen history here.

 History of linen production

VIDEO 1: Flax Spinning

 Weaving

Creating the final design on the fabric

Weekend break in Lisburn

Lisburn is only 20 minutes away from my house so it’s somewhere I go shopping from time to time- in fact, I recently bought my wedding dress there in Divinity Bridal (Longstone Street.)

But, besides taking a short trip to visit Bow Street Mall every few months, I’ve rarely been to Lisburn to actually see what the city has to offer in terms of attractions or eating out. So, that’s exactly what we did last weekend! (I’ll be writing a blog post about each place we visited but I thought I’d do a quick overview of our trip.)

On Saturday, our first stop was to check in to our accommodation for the night at Larchfield Estate. Larchfield is a 600-acre site which is famed for its weddings and events. (In fact, our friends Julie and Dan had their wedding here in 2013 in a converted barn and the venue was striking.) We were staying in the “Farm Cottage” on Saturday which is one of the original carriage rooms on the estate. The refurbished cottage consists of two twin bedrooms, each with an ensuite bathroom, and a large open-plan kitchen/dining/living area.We could tell we were in for a night of luxury!

 Larchfield Estate

Once we were settled in, we made the short drive to Lisburn City Centre to visit the Irish Linen Centre and Lisburn Museum. The museum explores the history and heritage of Irish linen production, and includes live demonstrations of flax spinning and weaving. I didn’t know much about the history so I found it really interesting to see the transformation from flax to fabric. (Every day’s a school day!)

Irish Linen Museum

After the museum it was time for shopping and some sightseeing! As well as Bow Street Mall, we checked out Bow Street itself and Lisburn Square which is a pretty, open square of Georgian-style buildings. There are lots of big ‘high street’ names, including Marks & Spencer, H&M, Next and Primark so we came away with a few shopping bags in tow! We then walked up to see Lisburn Cathedral, before stopping at Yellow Door café for a quick bite to eat.

Lisburn Cathedral

Once we’d spent our fair share of pennies, we headed to Hilden for a tour of Hilden Brewery. This was something I was really excited about as I couldn’t wait to see how the beer was made! We learnt all about the ingredients and the various stages of production from the owner Seamus, before sampling a few of the craft beers at the Tap Room restaurant.

Hilden Brewery

Finally, it was back into the city centre for a two-course dinner at Del Toro Steak House and Urban Grill. I went for the warm chilli beef nachos for starters and the 12oz Sirloin for mains. Mum choose one of the day’s specials- the sticky BBQ pulled pork springroll- followed by the grilled Irish hake. The dinner was absolutely delicious! There wasn’t a bit left on the plate and we both agreed that we will be back again in the near future!

Hilden Brewery

After dinner we headed back to Larchfield to spend a very relaxing evening in our lovely farm cottage before checking out on Sunday morning! It’s great to think all these attractions are so close to home and it was good to see Lisburn from a tourist perspective!