Bt9 newest Restaurant, Freight

Yesterday evening I decided to treat my two girls to an early dinner (they had been off school as their school was used as a polling station)!!

We went to the newly opened Freight restaurant. This is the second venture by brothers Gerard and Chris McQuillan, who, in April 2017, opened Freight, the iconic Container restaurant near C S Lewis Square in East Belfast.

This is a lovely, cosy, intimate (44 cover) restaurant, which is simply decorated and has a real feel of ‘quick dining’. Chris and Tony were in the kitchen, while Blair and Sarah held up Front of House.

The menu we chose from was the Christmas menu and Blair recommended the chicken bites with fresh, skin on, fries and tomato pasta for the girls. I opted for the turkey dinner.

Whilst we waited, Chris rustled up a delicious starter of pork belly bites. This was divine, it had small (1 cm cubed) pork belly pieces, cooked and served with pickled cucumber, radish, fresh salad in a chilli and sesame/poppy seeds. It looked fab and tasted even better!!

(Above, clockwise, pork belly, pasta, turkey)

The girls really loved the chicken, fries and pasta and portion sizes were great as well.

My turkey dinner was definitely a twist on the traditional turkey dinner! The spuds were roasted to perfection and fluffy, the turkey was moist and the stuffing was excellent. Loved the creamed, shredded sprouts, parsnips and carrot/beets. The chipolatas went down well and chestnuts were a nice addition.

Service was brilliant and Sarah was busy setting up a table for 30, yet still had lots of time to chat and keep the girls entertained or was it the other way around!!!

Blair was telling me that all the ingredients are local and freshly sourced, the wine list is simple (choice of 4 white or red), that there was an emphasis on craft beer and all of this was to promote high quality cuisine served by very enthusiastic people and catering for all clientele.

To finish the girls went for the sticky toffee pudding, which I shared and was the perfect end to a brilliant meal!!

Chris was telling me that both brothers want to replicate the success that they have over in the East, in the South. Their ethos is to cater for all tastes, young and old, romantic or families and are open for business. They also want the food to be hearty and wholesome, locally sourced and made and served with love.

The guys are also busy with Gypsy Kitchen, having had a GK night in the restaurant before the official opening….I’m definitely going to try this!!

My best wishes and thanks go out to the team and they tell me there are still vacancies available so get down to Freight in South Belfast!!!

#isrit

Christmas in Belfast part 5

The iconic Coke Truck is in town and yesterday I took my two girls to see it at Custom House Square.

The Coke Truck has been in Belfast for a few years now and was at the Odyssey before, this is the first time at Custom House Square. It has become a family tradition to see it and get a picture!! It marks a pivotal moment in the Christmas Holiday season!!

We arrived at 1.10 pm,armed with packed lunch and were first in line, which really pleased the girls. My youngest daughter had a fab time entertaining he elves Jack and Michelle. When 2pm came, the gates opened and the girls ran to the first stop which was to receive a small can of Coke/ Diet Coke or Coke Zero. Next it was a picture on the sleigh before arriving at the entrance to the Coke Truck.

We got a couple of pics beside the truck, which are now displayed on the mantle place. Good job we were early as the queue very quickly built up. We were finished by 2.15!!

We then went to visit St George’s Market to soak up some more Christmas Spirit…… it was pretty full, lots of delicious smells, gift ideas, entertainment and usual market fayre.

We made a quick pit stop in the Christmas market, much to the joy of my girls who absolutely love the salami tasting!! There was definitely Christmas cheer on display here.

Our last stop was to pick up the car at Castle Court, which was also busy. All in all it took us about 3 hours and 6000 steps round trip!!!

Dinner at Cosmo Belfast

As a mid school exam (AQE) treat, I took my 11 year old, studious daughter out for dinner. She wanted to go to Cosmo Belfast in Victoria Square Shopping Centre Belfast.

Victoria Square is a high end shopping and leisure hub. It has many well known chain restaurants and fantastic shops. It is always decked out well at Christmas and has a wonderful grotto!!

Cosmo is a family favourite of ours. My two daughters love it as there is pizza, pasta, chips, sausages on offer. My eldest loves the aforementioned but is now experimenting with more exotic food and loves sushi, dim sum and barbecue!! She also tried my starters!

The range of starters and quality was excellent however there could have been more dim sum.

There were lots of dishes to choose from and different nationalities were well represented ie Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Italian, Mexican, Middle Eastern, Barbecue and traditional to name but a few.

We managed to get through quite a lot between the two of us!!

The dishes were replenished regularly however the Indian section was not. We didn’t eat Indian as we get that at home all the time!!

The other section my daughter loved was the sweet section…..she really went to town here!!

Personally I’m more of a savoury liker but the panacotta and angel delight were very nostalgic!!

The staff were super attentive and I loved the live Teppanyaki station.

My recommendations would be the dim sum, sushi, teriyaki, Mongolian lamb, crispy chilli prawns and surprisingly the traditional Christmas turkey and ham dinner!!

Needless to say we needed a long walk afterwards to aid the digestion!!!

Christmas in Belfast part 4

Christmas lighting at night in Belfast can be very extravagant to more subtle and everything in between!!

I took my 11 year old daughter out for a meal at Cosmo Restaurant in Victoria Square Shopping Centre, the review of which will be my next blog! This was a kind of AQE (school exams) treat!!!

“Vic Square” is a very well lit up and decorated centre. It boasts a wonderful and tall tree and really has gone to town on the lights and decorations!!

There are loads of trees and the grotto looks fabulous.

We then, after a rather big feed, took a stroll to the Christmas Market through the city centre. We both felt that the city centre could have been lit up and decorated a bit more!!

The City Hall and Market were very well lit up and had such a warm and Christmassy feel about it all. The craic was brilliant!!

Belfast, by day or by night, is great at Christmas time!! When will you see it?

New Japanese outlet, Mitsuru, in CastleCourt, Belfast

After visiting Santa at CastleCourt Belfast we were rather hungry so decided to try the new Japanese outlet called Mitsuru.

This is the brainchild of Andy and his partner. Andy has rich restaurant heritage and his family have interests in Red Panda, Sakura, Obento and Sun Kee, to name but a few well established Oriental restaurants in Belfast!! Andy hails from Hong Kong and arrived in NI when he was 18 and has now spent more time in NI than Hong Kong!!

The genre of authentic Japanese food has really taken off in Belfast, with several new restaurants (4 I believe) opening in Belfast in 2019 alone!!

Andy has spent a princely sum converting the unit in the food court and it looks fantastic. There is a range of Japanese food on the menu and Andy prepared a wonderful sushi platter and Bento box for the four of us.

The sushi was made with prawn, crab, fish, avocado and yellow pepper, which was presented exquisitely. The wasabi was strong and sweet and the pickled ginger was fresh and tarte. My daughters loved it and my wife and I were delighted, as sushi aficionados, we felt that this sushi was probably one of the best we have tasted!!

I think sushi is still quite novel in Belfast however the explosion in Japanese outlets indicates that it is now getting mainstream. Some people may still be squeamish about eating raw fish but sushi can be veggie and/or made with cooked fish. There is, of course, a lot more to Japanese food than sushi!!

Our bento box was again outstanding. A good, big portion with meat, rice, noodles and sauce.The noodles were soft and flavoured and the rice was fantastic. There was prawn tempura, chicken in wasabi coating, spring roll and gyoza. Sauce was curry sauce and we also had chicken teriyaki, both were beautifully flavoured and lovely.

The wasabi chicken and prawn tempura were our favourites but honestly the range of dishes was excellent. I would have liked to have had a bit more sauce but that was my only point of improvement!!

I really think that this is a superb addition to the food court and is definitely worth trying. Big thanks to Andy and the team and best wishes!!! What will you have??

Christmas in Belfast Part 3

Castle Court Belfast was rocking with Britain’s Got Talent yesterday!!! There were lots of very excited and talented performers, eagerly waiting for their big chance……we were in town to see Santa though!!!

The Christmas decorations were up and lit up and the tall Christmas Tree had pride of place inside the main entrance….it really did feel like Christmas. There were plenty of places to have pics taken and to get into the festive spirit.

Santa was quite busy but I still managed to have a word and he was saying that kids should get their letters written and in to him to ensure they get their pressies on Christmas Day. Also if you meet him at the Grotto, as well as your photos (booklet, snow box or pendants), you can get a gift too!!!

Santa was also telling me that he knows who has been naughty and who has been nice!!!

The grotto can be found right beside the food court on the first floor….mmmmm I’m hungry, what will I eat….check out my next blog!

Christmas in Belfast part 2

My second instalment centres around the Christmas Market and in particular those stalls to the east of the City Hall Lawn. I had covered the stalls to the west of City Hall in part 1.

There are lots of new stalls and old from around Europe and further afield.

Lots of great ideas and crafts for gifts or stocking fillers as well as clothes and food!! I’m really looking forward to trying the poutine! Kids will love the heater skelter!

Speaking of food I had my obligatory ‘game’ burger, which was the wild boar with cheese, onions and burger sauce and all for £4.50 – a bargain!!

The other stand which caught my eye and tickled my taste buds was the Polish pork stand which were serving all kinds of pork fayre-I’m definitely going to have to try!!

To wash it all down is Laverys tent and the German beer tent, where for £5.50 you can have a pint of mango, cherry, raspberry or banana beer!!