Belfast Restaurant Week – Let’s Taste and Dine!

Belfast | October 5, 2014 | By

Belfast Restaurant Week

To kick off the 3rd annual Belfast Restaurant Week (4th-11th October) the grounds of the City Hall play host to a medley of local food producers, under the event banner of Taste and Dine. Free to enter, this event comprises not only pop-up restaurants but also live demonstrations, and runs from 11:30am to 7:00pm Saturday and Sunday. We attended early Saturday afternoon, during which time the restaurant critic Tom Parker Bowles was in action to the delight of a good sized crowd. Rather than beating around the proverbial bush, we headed promptly to check out the edible wares.

First up on the sample list was The Chubby Cherub. This is an Italian restaurant that prides itself on using only the finest and freshest of ingredients (no frozen food for this establishment!) with sea food, meats and cheese delivered fresh daily. For five British pounds you can indulge in an Italian hotdog with pork, chorizo and fennel seeds, smothered in traditional ragu and a generous sprinkling of parmesan, which adds an agreeably salty taste.

 
Belfast Restaurant Week
Italian Hotdog
 
Our second delicacy was from the Ten Square stall. Ten Square itself is a boutique hotel with a reputation for conjuring up a quality dining experience. Due to this, our expectations were high for the offerings from this particular stall. True to form, Ten Square concocted an accurately named combo plate to delight both palate and stomach. For a pocket-pleasing four pounds you could be served up: a miniature burger with salsa; a sirloin steak skewer in a delectable Bushmills sauce; and several delicious pieces of bang bang chicken coated in sesame seeds. 
 
Belfast Restaurant Week
Combo Plate
 
Having fuelled up on some real quality grub, it came time to saunter through the artisan stalls and exercise our sampling fingers. As it happens, our caffeine cravings temporarily overwhelmed  our foraging instincts and we instead made a beeline to the Jude’s Estate pop-up espresso bar. Jude’s Estate is a local coffee brand with designs on expansion to the global market. We enjoyed our cups, so if you want to give them a try or learn more, information can be found at www.wakeupandtaste.co.uk. I must mention while waiting in line to be served, we couldn’t resist picking up a 14oz tin of David Rio Tiger Spice Chai. With a mixture of cardamom,  cinnamon and clove this is an ideal drink as the cold autumnal nights  draw in around us. For all you cat lovers, they also sponsor a Bengal Tiger named Thor.
  
Belfast Restaurant Week
Jude’s Estate

 

Belfast Restaurant Week
Chai

Next stop for us after bowing to coffee addictions was Harnett’s Oils, a family run business producing cold pressed food oils. Dipping little pieces of bread in the sample dishes evoked imagery of potential recipes that would benefit from such flavoursome additions. We left with a £7.50 pack of rapeseed oils including: normal; lemon and thyme; basil; orange and rosemary; and hot chilli and garlic.

No stall haul would be complete without knocking back a tiny plastic cup of some alcoholic beverage, so we didn’t disappoint! Long Meadow Cider are artisan cider makers from the “orchard county” of Armagh. They use their own apples grown at Long Meadow Farm and you can certainly tell. The cider is cool, crisp and refreshing in both  Medium and Sweet incarnations. They deservedly won a gold star at the Great Taste Awards 2014. We left with three bottles (two sweet and one medium) for £5, which is frankly a brilliant bargain.
  
Belfast Restaurant Week
Long meadow cider and Harnett’s oil

 

The Taste and Dine event was a great way to launch Belfast’s Restaurant Week and we thoroughly enjoyed it. If you are in Town between 4th – 11th October, head over to Visit Belfast for all the events taking place to celebrate our wealth of local fare.
 
Belfast Restaurant Week
Can’t wait to tuck into these goodies!
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