Right so it’s time for a wee date night, and sure you haven’t had one in ages! If, like me, the last time you were out for dinner, pound coins were still round (that changed in March 2017 in case you’re wondering), then it’s about time you hit the town for the night.
Guys, grab your least wrinkled shirt and jeans. Ladies, find those heels you can barely walk in, dust off the ghds and fake tan mitt, and let’s go dating!
French Village Patisserie & Brasserie
Brunch central by day, classy bistro by night. French Village Patisserie and Brasserie takes on multiple roles and plays them all with impressive poise. You are spoilt for choice on the Lisburn Road, but after some potentially hefty bank account thumping shopping in BT9s best boutiques, there’s no better place for a wind down in the evening.
What to order: ‘Let’s go all out ‘cause the food here is looks amazing’. The mezze platter to nibble on while you natter. Then the smoked haddock, bacon and spring onion chowder. 18 hour slow braised featherblade of Irish beef, tenderstem broccoli, triple cooked chips and braising juices. And for dessert, well naturally there’s stacks to choose from and none will disappoint. But personally I’d go for the chocolate and tiramisu mousse.
The Grand Central Hotel Observatory
When you’re not gazing into the eyes of your beloved (really?), you can enjoy the stunning views from the 23rd floor of the new Grand Central Hotel. It’s plush, its polished, it’s 9 quid a pint (so maybe go Dutch!?). Well worth at least a curiosity satisfying visit.
What to order: ‘Right will we order some nibbles then ?’. This is definitely a place to enjoy a few drinks (as well as the view). But you can order from a choice of sharing plates. Go for the charcuterie board with toasted sourdough and the large cheese trolley, perfect with good company and a good glass of red.
Why surprise your significant other with a trip to the most romantic city in the world when you could take them for a crepe in the stylish Cafe Parisien?! With the stunning Belfast City Hall as a backdrop (it’s raining in Paris at the minute anyway, seriously I just checked). Upstairs in the Cafe, the dining room is simply stunning and the menu is packed with beautiful French inspired flavours.
What to order: Goats cheese (love it) and pistachio bonbons with beetroot salad and candied walnuts. Roast rack of lamb, crushed potatoes, broad beans and wild mushroom sauce, a snip at under £20. And for dessert, orange creme brulee, poached rhubarb and Viennese biscuit.
Balloo House’ official location is ‘out in the sticks’ in the pocket sized village of Killinchy, Co. Down. You’ll need a designated driver (unless you happened to live in Killinchy that is), but it’ll be well worth forgoing a tipple when you step into the cozy ‘pub life’ glow and taste the food that has earned Balloo House a steady stream of awards since the mid 00’s.
What to order: ‘Ach isn’t this just lovely!?’. Young buck blue cheese & red onion tart, purple sprouting broccoli & brown butter breadcrumb. You can have this as a main for a few quid more, but for me, it has to be the beef shin and Farmageddon (local beer, local as in 5 minutes up the road local) ale pie, with roast squash, creamy mash and bone marrow crumb. They also do Peter Hannan’s steaks, a multi-award winning local butcher (yes, they love their local produce here), so you’ve a tough decision to make. Desserts are made fresh every day, so change daily.
The Northern Whig
And finally we have ‘The Whig’. One of Belfast’s best known bars, it’s perched on the edge of our famous Cathedral Quarter and has one of the best vibes in town. The cocktail list is impressive (check out our Best Cocktails in Belfast). And the gastro pub evening menu is incredibly good value. Here, particularly at the weekend, you get to feel the real buxx of Belfast.
What to order: ‘oh, look at the gin of the month special! I’m gettin’ that!’. Where do I even start with this one? Let’s go with chorizo breadsticks, garlic butter, roast pepper and tapenade dipping sauces. For main, baby back rib stack, onion rings, thick fries and cajun corn. And to finish, sticky toffee pud, salted caramel choc brownie, raspberry & white choc tartlet, ah heck just bring us one of everything! And two more espresso martinis!