Wednesday, 7 November 2007

I shed a little tear

Review: Restaurant

I went to: Ginger Bistro, Hope Street Belfast

On the: 3rd of November

For: My birthday, sorry I mean dinner

I gorged on: Rare sirloin salad with wasabi and Loin of lamb served with chorizo, vegetables and potato gratin. Both sprinkled with magic, yes actual magic.

And it was: Maybe, just maybe the most beautiful food I have eaten in years. The sirloin was sliced waferish thin and as rare as it gets. I shed one little tear after the first bite. Not because it was just so beautiful, and it was, but because I added too much wasabi and ginger to the meat. LMM had squid to start which of course I helped her finish. I am a gentleman you know. And again it was perfect, almost melted in your mouth. With a first course like that we knew the main courses would be just fantastic. I braced myself, I didn't want to set myself up for a disappointment. My lamb was perfect, just cooked a moment over that "jelly" stage. The flavour of the meat was exceptional with out being too meaty, if you know what I mean. The chorizo, peas, and carrots and jus were filling but felt light. Makes no sense eh. But in a world were Matt Damon is famous and rich anything is possible. LMM's pork was moist and tasty, but fuck me she ate it all, saving only one, small, piece for me. What's that all about? But from what I was told it was, "It'sgreatImeangreatwhycan'tyoucooklikethat?" Indeed.

The service was: The service was for the most part really good, not Manuel, but really good. The waiter that took out order was genuine, warm, and most importantly, full of good advice. He disappeared as the place filled up. Which was fine. The atmosphere was relaxed and convivial. Other waiters were shaking hands and hugging regular or recognised customers. Simon, the head chef and owner, toured the tables greeting and seating people and adding to welcoming atmosphere. My head chef very occasionally tours the table as well, but with a cleaver in his hand.

It cost me: Nothing it was my birthday, but it cost LMM about £80. It was worth every penny.

I'll be going back: Just as soon as I get myself set up as a drug dealer and can afford to go everyday. Ginger isn't just for the special occasions, sell the kids and go everyday.

And so it gets: 6 out of 5. When a restaurant gels in every aspect, the way Ginger does, that truly is going above and beyond.

Other words: It was that good. I know it was my birthday and I was in a good mood but Ginger is that good. The staff are warm and sincere from the moment you arrive. The food is exceptional. The restaurant itself is light and airy and the decor is just fine and lends itself to a relaxing night. The menu leans towards fish primarily but as we had been to the Mourne Seafood Bar the previous day we opted for the meat choices. Simon was vegetarian chef of the year a few years ago so you are always guaranteed more than a stuffed pepper. Due to other commitments we didn't stay for sweets but the list looked beautiful and I'm sure that they were. Why wouldn't they, everything else was. If you go, and you should, be warned all other food will look like beans on toast after this.

This is my new favourite place, not just my favouri
te restaurant, but my new most favourite place......

make like a nike advert and just do it....

Don't forget Stripped Waiter......waiter strips

19 People trying to get Manuel's attention:

Medbh said...

That sounds like quite the tuck in, Manuel. And although it was your birthday, it doesn't mean that you get to poach Little Miss Manuel's dinner, sad to say. Be careful, she might be like the woman who stabbed her hubby for eating her pork chops.
Hee hee.
I once had guests over and my own sushi was first course. This silly man had no clue spread wasabi on a cracker. A thick slab of it. Oh, he shed more than a tear. So funny.

bendersbetterbrother said...

You should get out more often. What I mean is...I hate going to a restaurant and getting food no better than I can cook myself...stuff you can tell is reheated or zapped or overcooked. And I want a bit of useful service not just an order taker.

So, if you got out more often then I'd have a better chance of knowing about the good places and wouldn't waste as many of the few nights out I get.
Perhaps you could be like the Queen and have a couple of birthdays or like that nutter in one of the former Soviet republics who's named a day of the week after himself and two of the months too. I bet he has a birthday any time he feels like it.

Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

Well what the hell am I supposed to do when my mouth is made to water by this fabulous restaurant in bloody Belfast? Hop on a quick plane over?

And there's nothing in I want to eat right now after all that salivating over delicate tender morsels. A cheese sarnie's just not going to cut it. Well is it?

*Flounces off*

Mudflapgypsy said...

I bloody told ye!

Best kept open secret in Belfast I think.

Not eating meat I have had nothing but fantastic, imaginative food in Ginger.

It was a joy to read your review Manuel. To get vicaraious pleasure from knowing you had a wonderful meal and to ressure me that I am RIGHT! -goes off to feel smug-

We , that is, MRs M and I recently bought a wedding present of a gift voucher for two friends for Ginger.

Jealous, us?....you betcha!

I do feel that whenever people hear the name they instantly think it is a chinese place as I have had quite a few people ask me this.

When I win big on the lotto, have to start doing it, I'll eat in Ginger regularly.

Lucky bastard Manny, I am soooo jealous.

Mudflapgypsy said...

Magic, I use a big word and fcuk up the speling. ;-)

sheepworrier said...

There's not enough gingers in Belfast... more I say, more!

fatmammycat said...

Damn it to hell. It's not even noon and you have me dribbling and cooing like a half starved loon. Damn that sounds good.
What have I got? Soup? SOUP?
Urgh.

Conan Drumm said...

Drooling like Homer (Simpson) here..... Do you have to book an aeon in advance?

Manuel said...

Medbh: I know! You would have thought I had never had it before....amateur...

BBB: Here's my top 5, Ginger, Mourne Seafood Bar, Molly's Yard, Tedford's, Metro...Take your pick...also money, I need money and I'll rate the lot for you....

Sam: I'm having hot dogs for lunch. I hate my regular food now....

Muddy: Correct.....it's is the best in the city....fact....it's ok I cant spool a word right.....

Sheepo: Wrong, sick and wrong.......

FMC: See Sam....I had soup once....soup's ok..it's not rare sirloin salad but nice....

Manuel said...

Conan Drumm: Oh God yes...weeks upon weeks.it's only small, about 40 covers....

Nick said...

I was going to ask how many vegetarian options there were, but MFG seems to suggest there's loads of stuff for veggies. Am I right?

Manuel said...

Nick: No I wouldn't say there were loads of veggie options but it's a small menu. There were probably two main courses out of maybe ten. But I have a feeling that if you called in advance they would oblige you.....

Mudflapgypsy said...

Mr McCance makes the nicest food I have eaten in Belfast.

Last time I was there, waaaay too long ago, I had tempura of sticky rice with pineapple salsa for my main course. I only ordered to see what it was as I couldn't quite fit tempura and sticky rice together in my head.
Needless to say, it was a revelation in flavour and subtlety.

Manuel said...

He is, dare i say, a genius....

belfast plate carrier said...

Where you the couple that sat by the window and left me the url for well done fillet? If so thanks for your kind comments. Much appeciated!

anon-e-mouse said...

Manuel I think you have got it spot on for this restaurant. Undoubtedly one of the best in Belfast. We had our xmas party there and not one complaint the food was absolutely divine and having been in food industry for years I wouldn't say this lightly.

Simon is a Genius. When he was on the Ormeau road it was just as good.

I have read your blog a number of times and have always been curious as to where you work. I thought it might be Nicks Warehouse( Where Simon Chance used to work before setting up on his own) but I have decided against that. I think possibly for Botanic Inns group or maybe in 10 Square just not sure.

Anyway keep up your blogging it can be a real laugh; something we need in our busy lives.

Manuel said...

anon-e-mouse: cheers mouse.....it truly is a gem of a place.....keep guessing btw....

Tony said...

I went here recently, mostly on the strength of this very well written and entertaining review. So i had high expectations.... i went on about it all week, looking at the menu and choosing what i might have.

so we went at around 9pm for last sitting... i ordered sardine starter and lamb main... both of which were very underwhelming. The lamb in particular was so overcooked it was hard to tell what meat it really was. i left half of it on the plate... when the waitress collected the plates she avoided any eye contact with me and instead asked my partner if all was ok. i waited my turn... but wasnt given the chance to say anything as she scooted off.

we arrived at 9 and had finished 2 courses with wine... by 9.45... i'm all for service and efficiency, but for me this was a tad rushed to say the least.

combined with a waitress who launched cutlery into a drawer for the entire meal as she polished it, i really wasnt happy. i left feeling pretty stressed out, so went to get drunk instead.

not all was bad though... the wine was lovely, and the waitress who served us at the end was genuinely lovely and had a good chat with us.

overall i wouldnt be in a hurry to go back. maybe just a bad night for them?

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