Expanding your palate is a lot like dating – you have to cast the net wide and refine it as you go along, working out what you like and what you don’t. However, after a while it’s easy to settle and pick a decent restaurant and label it your “go to” thus closing yourself off to all the amazing sights and smells of other restaurants...
Perhaps it’s better to keep your options open though as you could miss some real gems.
LIR - Coleraine
LIR is the latest venture from husband-and-wife duo, Rebekah and Stevie McCarry, the minds behind both Native Seafood and Scran and The Pool. Keeping the same ethos as their previous projects LIR aims to promote sustainably sourced wild Irish seafood whilst also bringing more experimental cookery and seafood concepts to the table.
The menu changes daily depending on the catch brought in from local boats, the organic veg available from the restaurant’s growers and the foraged goods from their team.
The chefs then prepare the ingredients through a variety of processes such as whole fish butchery, fermenting, smoking and curing keeping in line with their nose to tail, zero waste policy. This is then divided up between their tasting experience, a la carte and fish mongers.
The tasting menu is experimental in the way it showcases local produce native to our land and sea. There is also an option to pair the food with LIR’s homemade juices, cocktails or wine. They do request a £45 deposit when making a reservation which will be taken off the price at the end of your meal and a full refund can be issued if you cancel within 48 hours of your booking.
Alternatively their a la carte offers a choice of three courses with a range of classic Irish fish dishes, street food inspired seafood and experimental cuisine.
Ginza Kitchen - Belfast
Inspired by one of Tokyo’s top shopping districts which is packed with ritzy cocktails and sushi bars, the founder of Ginza Kitchen aims to bring a piece of that glamour from Ginza to Belfast.
Since opening in 2019 the restaurant has been serving its own interpretation of traditional Japanese flavours along with a sophisticated dining experience in the vibrant hub of Lisburn Road.
Check out this Japenese restaurant located in the Lisburn Road, Belfast 🍣 #nifoodreviews #nifood #nifoodie #nifoodblog #nifoodblogger #nifoodbloggers #northernireland #nitiktok #belfast #belfastfood #belfastfoodie #belfasttiktok #belfastfoodblog #belfastfoodblogger #belfastfoodbloggers #lisburnroad #sushi♬ Worth It. (Sped Up) - RAYE
Using their collective global experiences, the chefs at Ginza Kitchen guarantee fine-quality Japanese cuisine using only the freshest ingredients.
From their homemade gyozas and Ramen (the broth of which is infused for 48 hours) to their Matsu Moriawase served in a boat the restaurant ensures there is something for everyone.
Steamboat – Belfast
Known for their all-you-can-eat do it yourself barbecue poached hotpot Steamboat is a totally unique dining experience.
However, for first timers it can be a bit daunting to work out what you’re actually meant to do.
Each table has a hotplate built in along with a central barbecue steel bowl under which is a fire that you can control like a cooker.
Diners will be asked whether they’d like mild, spicy or hot broth which is used to poach dumplings, prawns or vegetables in the hot plate.
There is also a self-service buffet filled with everything you could want from a Chinese from tiger prawns to pak choi. Once you’ve made your selection you return to your table to either poach them in the broth or grill them on the barbie.
Alternatively, if the DIY element of this restaurant does not appeal to you there is also a menu of cooked dishes to choose from and as if the experience wasn’t memorable enough their deserts are also worth seeing.
As depicted in the accompanying video the chocolate mousse sculpted to look like a French bulldog is like nothing I’ve ever seen before…
Chocoa Chocolate – Ballymena
Although the stylish, sophisticated and silky-smooth handcrafted chocolate is probably what Chocoa is best known for it is their brunch menu that won me over. Both the sweet and savoury options are excellent. Opt for their signature brunch – poached eggs on a bed of spinach and sourdough with avocado and a siracha/pesto dressing. Or choose from their choice of pancakes which include a raspberry and white chocolate concoction that you will be thinking about long after you leave.
If that doesn’t appeal their brioche French toast is another good shout. Again, offering both a sweet and savoury take on the brunch time favourite.
Infuse – Coleraine
On Bridge Street in Coleraine Infuse is serving up a taste sensation. Between their extensive range of both normal and bubble teas and their Norwegian style waffles this brunch spot is fresh, fun and funky. Distinctly different to the rest of the coffee shops you find when up near the north coast.
Daisies – Belfast
In all honesty sometimes I just venture in here to pet Chica the cafes resident chihuahua. However, if that isn’t enough to entice you to visit Daisies then their hot chocolate and cannoli’s definitely should be.
Dubbed ‘the best hot chocolate in Belfast’ it is made from 100% pure chocolate, mixed with salt, sugar and cocoa butter - indulgent, creamy and comes with marshmallows that are made in house. No wonder it has won two awards.
The cannoli’s are also a winner, filled with fresh ricotta cream that the café imports directly from Sicily and mixed together with their own pistachio paste creating an authentic taste of Italy.
Scopers – Dundrum
Owned by former fine dining chef Paul Cunningham Scopers is named after his grandad. With a passion for bringing people together as well as adopting a zero-waste policy this is a takeaway that is all about local food done differently.
Offering both traditional and quirky some favourites include the crispy mussel popcorn with kimchi mayo and pickled seaweed as well as the crispy pork skin.
Kubo – Trademarket Belfast
Described as a “one of a kind Filipino food experience” Kubo was born from tradition and family recipes. Striving to bring the flavour of the Philippines to Northern Ireland through modern techniques as well as educate people about the unique Filipino culture through events and supper clubs.
It is also home to Belfast’s first authentic Kamayan Kit – boodle style, Banana leaf lined boxes filled with authentic Filipino dishes.
Giuseppes Pizza – Belfast
According to Google, pizza is the most popular takeaway option in the world. So, if like the rest of planet Earth, you love a good pie why not try one from Giuseppes? No faff or fuss just a good dish done well.
Best Pepperoni Pizza in Belfast?? 🍕🍕@giuseppespizzabelfast on Malone Road are open for both sit and takeaway for some seriously good pizza!! #belfast #belfastfood #belfasttiktok #belfastfoodplaces #pizza #belfastpizza #northernireland #northernirelandfood #northernirelandtiktok #northernirelandhiddengem♬ One Night - Frank Bramble & Slip.stream