“Happy Birthday to ya, do do do, Happy Bir-th-day” etc etc. So, you’re another year older, an occasion which seems to become tragically less important as we age. But that’s no excuse not to celebrate (I suppose), and a few drinks and a feed are very much called for.
I read somewhere once (some ‘inspirational’ fitness meme on Insta or something) that we shouldn’t “reward ourselves with food, we’re not dogs”. What a load of guff! You’ve just made it through another 365 days of life. Chow down!
Here are five places worthy of your celebrations. All with first class food and I’m (pretty) sure that none of them will subject you to playing a very loud, cheesy ”Happy Birthday” tune while presenting you with an underwhelmingly small dessert complete with oversized candle.
I can’t say enough good things about Yugo, and neither can anyone else I’ve spoken to for that matter. Asian fusion food done simply and brilliantly. An open kitchen and warm intimate interior. You wont fit 50 of your closest friends in here for dinner, but if your having something small and special to celebrate your day, this is perfect.
Buba is one of the newer kids on the block that is St Anne’s Square, serving its many visitors a vibrant menu of east Mediterranean small and sharing dishes. Baba ganoush, spiced lamb flatbreads, falafel, tzatziki and Persian potato hash all on there. What’s remarkable about Buba is the price. £10 will get you the hake or the picanha steak and that’s as much as you’ll pay for any one dish. There’s also loads of choice for vegans. Bring a crowd in here, order a heap of ‘nibbles’, ‘bites’ and ‘munchies’ and enjoy with an equally Med inspired cocktail.
The critically acclaimed il Pirata is a rustic Italian bistro in the middle of Ballyhackamore. Where high quality meets casual dining, and with a wonderfully traditional menu, Il Pirata is one of the top joints in East Belfast’s food hub. To wash down your luscious linguine, there’s a long list of wines (as with any good Italian), locally brewed beers and ciders, and a dozen crowd pleasing cocktails.
Staying around East Belfast but heading to the Belmont Road and another of my faves, Baker Street. This roomy restaurant serves a gastro-pub style menu with extra points for having a large patisserie selection, great value set dinner offers, and a crackin’ kids menu. This is definitely the place for a family birthday celebration.
If you’re going all out for your big day then not many places would do better than the newly refurbed James St. One of Belfast’s top fine dining spots, It’s a steak lover’s haven too, with over a kilo of tomahawk steak or 800g chateaubriand for sharing among many other cuts on the menu. First class service and the best quality food make for a fantastic dining experience, and a memorable Birthday celebration.