Harry’s Cushendall

I live in Cushendun at the weekends and always enjoy checking out the local food and drink offering in the Glens.

Last weekend we were invited to try Harry’s restaurant situated in Mill Street in the heart of Cushendall.

I had eaten in Harry’s before (last year), but was keen to try it out again as it was recently taken over by the restaurant’s chef Alistair McGregor.

Husband and wife team Alistair and Liane have been in charge for 10 months now, with a revamped menu and a new look and feel for the place.

We went for the lunch menu which is served from 12-5pm and offers a range of starters, main courses, burgers, salads and sandwiches.

The starters (priced from £4.75 to £6.50) include the Chef’s Soup of the Day, Duck spring rolls, and Hot and Spicy chicken wings.

As a cheese lover, it was the Crispy breaded brie which caught my eye, and my dish came served with a light salad and sweet and sour sauce. The warm brie oozed out once cut open – just how I like it.

The competition for the best Seafood Chowder is fierce in the Causeway Coast and Glens so Barry had to go for the Chowder served with wheaten bread. He said the Chowder, which uses local seafood, was delicious with large chunks of fish.

For mains I decided to go for a dish on the ‘Daily Specials’ board. It was the start of December and I was yet to have my first Turkey and Ham of the season.

In hindsight I didn’t need a starter as well as the Christmas dinner because gosh, was it huge! Talk about good big country portions! I couldn’t finish it, I’m ashamed to say!

Barry went for a much more sensible lunchtime offering- the colourful Harry’s open prawn salad.

Other mains include Beer battered scampi, 8oz rump steak, creamy chicken carbonara and Harry’s veggie burger with chilli jam.

We really enjoyed our lunch and the comfortable, homely setting of Harry’s. If you’re visiting the Glens over the festive period and fancy a good feed, then try out their Christmas dinner!

Crispy Breaded Brie

Seafood Chowder

Harry’s Open Prawn Salad

Turkey and Ham Christmas Dinner

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Brunch at The Gallery

The Gallery cafe and bar opened its doors on the Dublin Road in Belfast a few months ago.

Since then, I have seen many pictures of its stylish interior, elegant crystal chandeliers and most importantly, mouth-watering food!

I was invited down to try out the new breakfast menu which is served from 8am. My mum and I went at 11am on a Wednesday morning and were shown a seat beside the window.

The place was relatively busy with locals drinking coffee, as well as three American tourists who were praising the food. Good start!

The breakfast menu is priced between £4.95 for the Gallery Organic Porridge which is served with a mixed berry compote and honey, to £9.95 for the New York Breakfast, which was to be my choice after a recommendation.

Other breakfast dishes include French Toast, Homemade stacked pancakes, Smoked Salmon and Eggs, Poached Eggs and Avocado, and of course, the Gallery Ulster Fry.

I was torn between the Ulster Fry and the New York Breakfast, but I was told the New Yorker was really good – so I put my trust in them!

The New York Breakfast is two poached eggs served on a toasted bagel, with baby spinach, smashed avocado, Halloumi, cream cheese, sun blushed tomatoes and pastrami.

When it came I wasn’t disappointed in my choice- it was filling, it looked elegant, it combined different flavours and textures and most of all, it was really, really tasty!

My mum went for the Eggs Benedict which is two poached eggs served on sourdough toast, with honey roast ham and Hollandaise Sauce. She, too, was impressed with her brunch and said the Hollandaise sauce was zingy and creamy but not too thick.

The Gallery is chic with an impressive arty decor, and fits in really well on the Dublin Road. I’m looking forward to seeing what else it has to offer.

New York Breakfast

Eggs Benedict

Stylish arty interior at The Gallery

The Food Hall Belfast

There’s a new food hangout in the Cathedral Quarter in Belfast- the Food Hall located in York Street!

As the name suggests, Mount Charles’ latest offering brings together a number of different cafes under one roof, with a large, open seating area so that diners can pick and choose from the range.

I went along to the opening night, thanks to Ohh Social, a Northern Irish 2-4-1 mobile app, and sampled the goodies from each of the four cafes.

So what’s on offer? Well, there’s Juiced– a healthy smoothie bar- and Made- serving the likes of soups, salads, sandwiches and wraps.

If you fancy something sweet, there’s La Creperie serving a brilliant range of crepes and muffins. I went for the Nutella and Strawberry crepe……oh my! Delicious!

Finally, there’s Ripple, to get your yummy ice-cream fix, especially if the weather has been as good as the last few days!

I love the idea of friends all able to get different food/drink items but still sit together (I’d be the friend that would go straight for the buns rather than the healthy smoothie!)

Check out the video and pics below from the opening night.

And if you want to try some of the items, download the Ohh social app where there are offers such as ‘two for one’ wraps, milkshakes and ice-creams!



 

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!


Dinner at Malmaison Hotel Belfast

Last week Barry celebrated his birthday and we booked in to the Malmaison Hotel in Belfast for dinner.

The boutique venue, situated in Victoria Street, is home to a 60-seater brasserie popular with locals as well as tourists staying in the hotel.

When we arrived we were shown to our table by Colm who attended to us the whole night.

The a la carte menu has a good mix of starters, ranging from £3.50 (Italian olives), up to £12.50 for the pan roasted sea scallops. Some of the other dishes included corn-fed chicken terrine (£7.50), classic prawn cocktail (£9) and fillet steak tartare (£10).

To begin Barry selected the tempura of calamari and prawns, while I picked the fougasse with garlic butter (a soft and spongy flat bread), big enough for us to share with just the right amount of juicy garlic butter.

For mains we could have selected from two menus; ‘Grille’ featuring dishes such as Black Agus grain fed Ribeye steak and grilled fresh sea trout, and the ‘Mains’ with dishes which included Ibérico pork cutlet and lobster risotto.

We decided to share two dishes from the Grille menu, as Colm has recommended the Mal Burger (£16.50) and I also really wanted to try the Chickpea, lentil and bean burger (£14).

The Mal Burger is served with sweet cured bacon, Gruyére cheese and burger relish, while the Bean Burger comes with roasted red pepper, spiced yoghurt and pommes frites. What a great choice!

Despite the fact they were a little messy to cut in half, we both really enjoyed getting to taste them both. My favourite was the chickpea, lentil and bean burger!

Finally we were shown the dessert menu and Barry decided to just opt for a coffee. When I saw they had light raspberry cheesecake, I couldn’t resist. The cheesecake came served in a type of cosmopolitan cocktail glass. It felt richer and thicker than the name might suggest (which I actually prefer!) but I managed to finish it all off!

Earlier that evening Colm had asked us why were out and I told him it was Barry’s birthday. To our surprise, along with Barry’s coffee, came a lovely selection of petit four with a “Happy Birthday” message! I thought it was a very thoughtful touch and one which reinforced the excellent service we had received from our waiter all night.

All in all, we had a very enjoyable experience. The venue felt intimate and Colm was very knowledgeable about the food and Malmaison’s own wine.

Thanks to Malmaison for a great night out for the birthday boy!

 

 

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!


 

 

Solo Belfast’s Afternoon Tea

I often head to afternoon tea at different places around Belfast but a few weeks ago I was invited to try afternoon tea with a twist- Solo Belfast’s Fusion offering.

I went to Solo Kitchen and Bar when it first opened in Belfast a few months ago and raved about it so I was interested to see how they would do afternoon tea and make it different to the rest!

Barry and I went last Sunday on what was one of the warmest days of the year in Belfast so we asked if we could sit outside. There were two seats free so we were able to enjoy our afternoon tea in the sun! How often do you get to say that here?

The afternoon tea comes  with scones, sandwiches and sweet treats (as normal) but the twist is the savoury nibbles.

You are served up Panko breaded and fried brie cheese wedges, Samosas and BBQ Pulled Pork Sliders in a mini brioche bap! It was quite unusual as part of afternoon tea but a very enjoyable addition!

The selection of sandwiches was Wild Atlantic smoked salmon with dill cream cheese on Guinness Wheaten bread, bruschetta and Coronation Chicken.

Again, the bruschetta and coronation chicken are not the type of sandwiches you would normally get at afternoon tea but they worked very well as part of this fusion sensation.

Finally we enjoyed scones with jam, butter and fresh cream and mini desserts including chocolate cake. The cake was rich and gooey- just how I like it!

We had a great afternoon and loved the mix of flavours and tastes- something I wasn’t expecting. Fusion Afternoon Tea is £18pp and great if you’re looking for something a little bit different to the norm!

Solo’s Afternoon Tea

BBQ Pulled Pork

Sandwich selection

Sweet Treats

Barry enjoying his Fusion Afternoon Tea in the sun