The Morning Star, Belfast

Over the next few weeks Yelp Belfast is running its ‘Around the World in 8 Weeks Series’. The idea is that Yelpers will get the chance to try world cuisine right on our own doorstep. From Italian right through to Hawaiian, we will go on our very own world food tour. So, last night was the first in the series and what a better place to start than Northern Ireland!

The venue for the night was The Morning Star at Pottingers Entry in Belfast. I had never been to the restaurant before, but a few people mentioned to me that the steaks are top class. (I discovered last night that they have their own beef and lamb farm with everything reared on the shores of Lough Neagh.)

So, a four-course taster menu was on the cards. First up was a Two Mushroom Veloute- a creamy mushroom soup served with crostini. The soup, as the name suggests, was like velvet- smooth and rich, without being too overpowering.

Next up was a Whiskey Cured Salmon and Kilkeel Caught Crab. I’ll hold my hands up and say, because I’m not a seafood fan, I didn’t indulge in the second course but there were clean plates all round from the rest of my party at the table. The salmon was cured in Bushmills and served with a crab quenelle and wheaten.

The third course was right up my street- grass fed Dexter and Hilden Irish Stout Pie. This was more like a main portion rather than a taster portion- and I’m glad it was! The crispy/flaky pastry perfectly accompanied the thick pieces of meat and came with creamy spuds, mushy peas and beef gravy.

Finally, there was just about room for dessert- peanut butter cheesecake! Peanut butter is not something I usually eat but there wasn’t a strong peanut flavour and in fact, it ended up being my favourite course of the night!

All in all, the Morning Star did a great job catering for almost 30 of us! The service was slick and there were no complaints from my table, just empty plates. I think the Morning Star summed up ‘Northern Ireland’ week very well, from things like growing its own organic herbs and salads to working with top NI producers and suppliers.

A great night had and I’ll think I’ll go back to try out that steak people are raving about!

Two Mushroom Veloute

Whiskey Cured Salmon and Kilkeel Caught Crab

Grass fed Dexter and Hilden Irish Stout Pie

Peanut butter cheesecake

Belfast Mouthing Off: Champions Night

A few months ago I got the chance to help decide what was the best cupcake in Belfast– tough job, I know!

It was part of the Yelp Belfast’s Mouthing Off series and involved eating 8 different cupcakes and deciding which one we thought was the winner. In the end it was J-Bird bakery which was crowned champion.

I was pretty late to the show but the Mouthing Off Series has been running since last year and so far there have also been competitions for the best chicken wings, cocktail, pizza, burrito and burger in Belfast.

This Monday was a celebration for the winners and 20 lucky Yelp reviewers got the chance to have a champions night dinner! It was a fantastic night celebrating some of the best cuisine Belfast has to offer, even if I could hardly move by the end of it!

Here’s what we were treated to:

Course 1: Best chicken wings in Belfast. Hot chicken wings from The Hotplate Noshery

Course 2: Best pizza in Belfast. The Brooklyn from Pizza Works

Course 3: Best burrito in Belfast: Burrito from Acapulco 

Course 4:Best Burger in Belfast. The  beef Shin Burger from The Barking Dog 

Course 5: Best cupcake in Belfast: Red Velvet cupcake from J-Bird Bakery

All washed down with the Best Cocktail in Belfast: Clipped Wing Royale from Zen

Brilliant meal from all the well deserved champions!

Yelp’s Balloon Party

On Friday night I went to a party. Ok, sounds like an average Friday night, but this was a party with a difference: an adults’ kids’ party!

Yes, a party for adults, complete with pizza, coke floats, popcorn and balloons…lots of balloons!

The party was hosted by Yelp Belfast at Studio Souk on Castle Lane and was the start of weekend-long celebrations which involved TEN THOUSAND balloons! (Glad I wasn’t the one blowing them up!)

The coke floats had an extra touch (rum to be exact!), while the pizza was from Pizza Works on the Antrim Road and the ice-cream from Café Mauds! Everything was delicious and the pizza was snapped up in minutes!

It was great to see so many people letting their inner child run wild and enjoying the great craic amongst the mountain of balloons. Something extremely different for a Friday night!

Another really fun event from Yelp Belfast.



Yelp Belfast: Cupcake Off!

On Sunday I was delighted to take part in Yelp Belfast’s Mouthing Off Series- the Cupcake Off!

The Mouthing Off series is a competition to find the best in Belfast, ranging from the best cocktail, the best chicken wings, the best pizza and now the best cupcake! (When I heard I got to try 6 different cupcakes, I RSVP-ed within seconds!)

The challenge took place at Stoker’s Halt in east Belfast and when I arrived I was in cupcake heaven- over 30 cupcakes from each of the 6 competitors were sitting waiting for us!

The idea is that, without knowing who has made the food/drink, you try each one, rate them on taste, texture, appearance etc and then vote for your favourite. The one with the most votes is crowned the best in Belfast!

It was a tough job but someone had to do it…here they are:

Number 1

Number 2

Number 3

Number 4

Number 5

Number 6

They were all delicious but Number 3 really stood out for me. The cake was moist and the cream not too sweet. It was the first one I tried and it stayed at the top for me right the way through.

The votes were cast….and Number 3, the red velvet masterpiece, was named the winner! It was then revealed it was J-Bird bakery in Bloomfield Avenue! Congratulations guys!

Well done to the other competitors- The Lily Pink Bakery, French Village, Treat Boutique, Lavender Cupcakes and Belfast Bakery Company. There were only a few votes in it! Can’t wait until the next competition!