Eating out: Knags Grill Bar and Deli, Glengormley
Knags Grill Bar and Deli
373 Antrim Road
028 9084 2266
I LEARNED a number of things during our abortive attempt to live in Glengormley a few years ago – primarily that I didn't want to live in Glengormley.
We lasted just over a year before consciously-uncoupling our way back to the dog-poo festooned 30mph streets of dear old Belfast.
There are no hard feelings (at least on my side) and I like to think I have remained on good terms with that slice of surburbia - more than it could be said I have achieved with most exes.
Have you even really broken up when you still go out to dinner? If leaving Glengormley meant never returning to Knags, would I still have done it? Well yes, but it would have been with a heavy heart.
The bar and grill is that elusive kind of restaurant I always longed for but had given up hope of finding. One that you know whenever you go, whoever you're with and whatever you order, you will have good food, good service and a good time.
Situated on the main Antrim Road, a stone's throw from Sandyknowes Roundabout, like a lot of eateries in purpose-built sites, its kerb appeal is limited; however, generous parking provision more than makes up for it when compared with the block-circling which often accompanies dining out in the city.
Inside is a tastefully furnished restaurant, airy and bright from the floor to ceiling windows which make up almost three of the exterior walls.
The complimentary hair and body spray in the women's toilets is now complemented by hand sanitiser at the door and on the bar, and tables are cleaned efficiently between diners' sittings.
Although it seats a large number of patrons, a wooden partition manages the acoustics effectively allowing comfortably pitched conversations even when it is busy.
At the back of the restaurant is a well-stocked bar from which flow delightful cocktails (anywhere with a 'Gin of the Week' is a good time) as well as the usual wine and soft drinks.
Returning with children for the first time since lockdown brings its own trepidations, but behind their new face-shields the staff are as warm and welcoming as ever.
The five-year-old was a nursing infant on her first visit, but this time has an extensive children's menu to choose from. Burger and chips edged out competition ranging from pizza and sausages to steak, curry and carbonara. When it arrived it was a hefty adult-sized portion, which at £6.50 together with an ice cream is reason enough to leave the city limits.
The adult menu is the kind of wide-ranging one which usually makes me uneasy - Are you a fish or meat specialist? - because, in my experience at lower price points, you can't be both.
Except when you can, and then it's glorious.
Anything on the menu is a safe bet. Chef Kevin McCourt has 20 years' experience in the industry which includes a stint working alongside Gordon Ramsay.
Our starters are a Mexican/Far Eastern fusion of dry crunchy salt chilli beef with a tangy Asian slaw and smooth chipotle sauce and bucket of more traditionally tasty Knags Hot Wings. The glossy hot and piquant sauce coating nine – count 'em – plump pieces of chicken.
A Berocca-sized white disc and a small plastic squirting water bottle create a wet towel with enough theatrical flourish to please the child diners.
Our mains were pan-fried seabass topped with juicy garlic and chilli sautéed tiger prawns with a side of rosemary and parmesan skinny fries and steamed vegetables and, because it was Sunday, Knags Roast Platter.
Eatin' pants are a must if you plan to eat the entirety of the large griddle pan containing melting braised beef and tender hunks of turkey and ham, a hillock of mashed potato, fluffy roasties with a crispy bite and a Yorkshire pudding doubling as a gravy boat filled to the brim with dark rich liquid.
For dessert the adults go for the raspberry and white chocolate tart and a warm salted caramel pecan brownie with its own pot of chocolate sauce and vanilla pod ice cream. And it is salted caramel the way it was originally intended, enhancing rather than obscuring the flavour.
Knags, is it any wonder I can't quit Glengormley?
2 Kid's cheeseburgers £13
Chilli beef £7.50
Roast Platter £15.50
Parmesan fries £2.50
Pecan brownie £4.95
Raspberry white chocolate tart £4.95