Award winning kebab from Sphinx

Yesterday I treated myself and girls to an award winning chicken kebab, chips, chicken goujons, curry sauce and the legendary Sphinx and garlic sauces.
Picture: The Glengormley branch, Kebab Awards
A kebab is traditionally pieces of whole or ground meat, spiced or non spiced, cooked over charcoals with or without vegetables. In Indian cuisine there are the Shish or seekh kebabs (same thing but different spelling), Reshmi, Multani and Shami to name but a few.
In the UK and Middle East the famous kebabs are undoubtedly the doner kebab or kebab stack. Unfortunately here in the UK the doner has the infamy of being a greasy and unhealthy after pub meal made from cheap and fatty off cuts of lamb, chicken, beef and/or pork. If one has had a “real” doner in the Middle East then they know that the UK doner is worlds apart. In the Middle East the doner is usually made form lamb, goat, chicken or beef and it is seasoned and served with salad, sauce and bread. The kebab stack is flattened meat steaks placed horizontally on a vertical skewer and cooked vertically like a doner. The meat is then cut and served with salad on bread.
Picture: from top left, marinade for the steak kebab stack, steak kebab stack, freshly made beef sausages and burgers.
Picture: from top left, marinade for chicken, the chicken in the marinade, chargilling the chicken.

The owner of The Sphinx, Errol, had a vision of dispelling the myth that the doner was a cheap and unhealthy fast food. So he went on a mission to produce good quality kebabs. For his kebab stack he uses fresh Irish fillet steaks (beef so I cant eat-as I dont eat beef), flattened and placed onto and built up on the vertical skewer, just like the Middle Eastern chefs prepare it. In the Middle East the meat is usually goat, lamb or beef. The Sphinx also make chargrilled chicken breast kebabs,which are my favourite. These are made from good quality Irish chicken breasts which have been sliced and marinated before being cooked on a hot gas chargrill. The resulting colour, smells and texture are exquisite and the chicken is moist and delicious. It is served best, in my opinion, with salad and the famous The Sphinx House Sauce in a large flat bread. 

Errol also believes in using the finest, locally produced fresh ingredients. All the chips are prepared from Irish potatoes which are cleaned and chipped on site.

It is a very healthy, tasty and nutritious chicken dish and not the typical “after pub meal”. Indeed it is actually a very healthy and nutritious meal. The Sphinx also do the usual fish and chips as well as the other chip shop favourites and they do gyros, burritos, and kids meals.

Picture: from top left fresh chicken goujons (flash fried), fish and our dinner-large chips, large salad, large chicken kebab in bread, chicken goujons and curry sauce and the legendary Sphinx and garlic sauce!!

The original The Sphinx (opened in 1980, Errol took over in 2005) can be found on Stranmillis Road, Belfast, Antrim Road in Glengormley (2015) and the newest one is on Botanic Avenue (2016). They do deliveries and can be found on Just Eat. Big thanks to Errol and all the staff for letting me behind the scenes!!

Ps the food was amazing!!! I’ve had mine…..question is, when are you going to get yours?


La Taqueria-a true gem

After a long Afternoon walking around town I decided to try out La Taqueria. This is certainly a beacon for the city centre especially around the Primark cordon.

I’ve always threatened to pay it a visit so today was that day! I can remember seeing a picture from FB of a wooden platter with two hugely piled tacos. So I duly ordered this dish- 2 Tacos de choripapas. Basically chorizo, onions, potatoes and cream and I went with scrambled egg.

When it came out it was smaller than I expected BUT on tasting it packed a punch and bursted with flavours….I also tried the trio of sauces and definitely my favourite was the Habanero!!

All in all top marks, great place, menu, staff and ambience and food really was amazing!!

Our Christmas lunch

It’s the 27th December and I can’t believe all the hype and festivities are over!!! So much build up, shopping and money just for one day…..rant over!!!

I wanted to share our Christmas lunch. For starters I served up “surf n turf” with a salad. My wife diligently prepped a salad of tomatoes, cucumber, beetroot, lettuce and slaw. I prepped the meat the day before. For the surf I used smoked salmon slices rolled up with cream cheese and chives inside, salt and chilli prawns with homemade Marie Rose sauce on top and scallops in basil butter. The turf was white pudding discs.

Main course was turkey and pork Ballantine, roast potatoes, carrot and parsnip battons and shredded sprouts and gravy, not to mention pigs in blankets.

The meat was prepped the day before. I used two turkey breast steaks, a pork fillet and good quality, flavoured stuffing. This was rolled, tied, seasoned and doused in honey before being rolled in foil and refrigerated.

Suffice to say it was a fab meal!!!

Belfast is Back!!

Two pronged title ie I’ve been without a mobile for approximately 3 weeks-a digital detox and it was very refreshing…..however I was still able to access my lap top, sporadically!!!

Secondly because after the Primark fire and cordon,which split the heart of the City Centre, a new tunnel was opened to reconnect. This has breathed more life into the city.

Belfast is certainly in the throws of Christmas and we (wife and two girls) ventured into town to experience Santa at Castle Court and the Christmas Market. The market has extended and there are extra activities to partake (my daughters had a go on the slide!!)

Get into BELFAST and support the traders!!!!

Freight IS Pot Kettle Black

This place is a restaurant which punches well above its weight……indeed it knocks on the door of the likes of Ox and Deanes and in our opinion is just as good!! That was the combined opinion of the four of us after we dined here tonight.

It is only in its first year and has had to change its name from Pot Kettle Black to Freight. I like the new name as its housed in converted containers!!

We went for the three course meals for £16 (supplement £5 for steak and £3 for cheese). To start we had crab sliders and poached pear. The sliders (2 per portion) were superb and the pear salad was refreshing.

For mains we had three pork belly with wild rice and brown shrimp curry and one flat iron steak. The pork was so soft and melt in the mouth and full of flavour and the steak, I was told, was also exceptional. We had some delicious sides being truffle and parmesan fries, crispy piri piri potatoes, roasted sprouts and curry noodles and these sides alone could have been mains themselves-they were that delicious.

Coffees and cheese boards followed and we all had a superb time. All four of us would definitely recommend this place….and its byo, by the way our bill was £94.

Highlights of the Belfast Continental Market so far

So a day in and I’ve discovered some class new food ideas as well as rekindle old favourites!!

First an old favourite has to be the kangaroo burger with onions at £4.50. Still meaty and tasty and hopping good!!

A new idea from an old favourite is next up being pulled pork, stuffing, gravy, roasties, apple sauce and cranberry…….all on a giant Yorkshire pudding….mmmmm delicious and messy, you have been warned!!

A new and novel idea I can reveal….Noisy Nuts, these are peanuts with a difference!!! Aimed at the more discerning palate and are ethically sourced peanuts served in box with a sachet of oil and one of 5 flavours. You pour sachet contents over nuts and shake!! They are very tasty!!

Lastly, for now, is freshly fried scampi with a choice of sauces from Donaghadee….crispy batter and meaty scampi…delicious.

The 2018 Belfast Christmas Market

It’s that time of the year again!!! The 14th Belfast Continental Christmas Market……and I’m really excited!!!! it’s in its usual home, Belfast City Hall. Had a wonder around today and the buzz was amazing. Lots of stalls, food from all around Europe and beyond, stuff for kids to do, Santa’s Grotto and gift stalls as well as confectioners and pastries and drinks!!!! Had my Kangaroo burger going to give the Yorkshire pudding a go!!! What will you have?