Over the weekend Neil and I treated ourselves to a wee bite of lunch in Belfast. I wasn’t in a meat-eating mood, so we thought we would try The Ginger Bistro
, having discovered during Veganuary that they had some good vegetarian options.
The bistro was established in 2004 and since then has won many awards, including Best Restaurant 2011 (in Which? good food guide). Their menu covers light lunches, pre-theatre lunches and dinners. They also have a wine/cocktail list and a range of local beers on offer.
Our table was booked for 2pm and we arrived in plenty of time. The greeter was very friendly and showed us to our table. It’s a cosy little place with local art hung on the walls and comfortable seating. I particularly liked the basket style lighting.
We were spoilt for choice on the menu. You could have: Gratin of Roast Squash, Leeks, Pine Nuts and Parmesan with Garlic Green Beans; Puff Pastry Pie of Marinated Cherry Tomatoes, Rocket and Goats Cheese; and Curried Cauliflower Fritters. The only vegan option was, oddly enough, the one that jumped out at me straight away; Sweet Potato and Chickpea Fritters with a Light Spinach Curry and Tomato Dressing. I’m so glad I picked this as it was bursting with flavours, the sweet potato couldn’t have been any nicer. Highly recommended.
The pre-theatre menu also had plenty of options. This ranged from a Mediterranean Seafood and Chorizo Broth with Homemade Sea Weed Bread, to Oriental Duck with a Wilted Carrot Salad and Piquant Plum Sauce, or something more simplistic such as Fried Lemon Chicken or a good old Sirloin Steak. Neil opted for Fried Squid with Home-made Chilli Sauce & Garlic Mayonnaise. I didn’t get a chance to taste the squid as Neil gobbled it all up pretty quick. He is a fan of squid and this gets the thumbs up. He also had a side order of parsnip chips that I did manage to sample and greatly enjoyed. Cooked just right – not too crisp or soft, and lightly seasoned so you get the flavour of the parsnip without being overpowered by too much seasoning. I recommend trying them as they make a change from the sweet potato fries you see on offer in many restaurants these days.
The staff were very friendly and our waiter was knowledgeable of the menu. We did test him on the beers and he was able to tell us about the local drink Clotsworthy Dobbin, a toffee flavoured ale brewed just outside Kilkeel. Neil was sold and ordered it. I stuck with water but I did sneak a little sip of the ale and you could really taste the toffee flavour in it. Very nice!
This definitely is a good place to visit if you are looking for something to eat before seeing a show at The Grand Opera House, or if you just fancy something a little different for lunch. Good food, warm atmosphere and friendly staff. Not much more you could ask for!
Where’s your favourite place to have lunch in Belfast?