Monday, 11 August 2008

Tedford's - Review

What is is we, as guests, are looking for when we dine out? Or rather what is it that makes for a great dining experience? We have to make compromises when we evaluate what we have eaten, what we have experienced. We trade an aspect of the cooking with an aspect of the service. We mark up or down depending on what is important to us. I can forgive average food quicker than I can forgive average service. With Little Miss Manuel it is very definitely the other way round. All restaurant guests have to go through this evaluation process when the bill is presented.

But on Saturday night we had no such compromises to make. We didn't have to trade the positives of the food or service with the negatives of the other. There simply were no negatives. When the bill was presented I had no choices to make, no marks to deduct.

Tedford's, in every aspect, was perfection. No if's no ands no but's, perfection.

The Wine.

Ameztoi Txakoli (pronounced chacoli) is a white wine from the Basque Country. It came recommended and I'm so glad I put my trust in Sharon. There is a very gentle almost fizz to this crisp, light bodied gem of a wine. With Tedfords being a seafood restaurant their wine list is structured to match the dishes they serve so it was no surprise that the Txakoli went so well with my turbot and scallops. This was the first time I have tried Txakoli but I will be having some that again, soon.

The Food.

I had: Pork Belly with squid to start followed by a duo of duck breast and filo wrapped shredded duck with quails egg. My main was Pan Roast Turbot & Scallops, crab crushed new potatoes, buttered asparagus, and Hollandaise. We shared a selection of sorbets to finish.

Little Miss Manuel had: Beef spring rolls followed by a duo of duck breast and filo wrapped shredded duck with quails egg. And for her main she had Curry Roast Monkfish, coconut rice, stir fry Pak Choi, tiger prawn wontons, finished with curry oil.

Each plate was dressed to dazzle both the eyes and the taste buds. My starter of pork belly and squid was flamboyant, a bold statement of intent that set the standard for the rest of the meal. But just as the pork had been a bold statement by contrast the duck was deliciously understated. It was melt in your mouth gorgeous with the quails egg providing a beautiful sweetness to the dish.

By this point we were drooling and giddy with excitement.

And we had every right to be. The portion of turbot was as generous as could you could hope for, as was LMM's monkfish. The strong smell of her curried monkfish had me slightly green with envy. Not that I was disappointed with mine, far from it, but I really did want both. LMM is no stranger to my greed and cut a slab for me. That's love.

Her monkfish was meaty, if you know what I mean. The flavours of both dishes were perfectly balanced and left you wanting, no craving, more. My scallops were divine, creamy with that slight caramelised glaze on top. I honestly think I am becoming a scallops junkie. I had scallops recently at Ginger Bistro and whilst these weren't the size of the scallops that night they were every bit as gorgeous. Simon from Ginger has his own diver who seems to have the ability to find scallops the size of ping pong balls. Which is nice.

Greedily we had ordered a portion of the triple cooked chips to share, despite being told there was no real need for anything extra. There was, of course, no need for these. Still they were eaten with gusto. We finished with a trio of sorbets which was the perfect end to a great night even if we did eye up the lemon tart on the next table with covetous eyes. The food was sublime, generous, and cooked to perfection. I really am running out of superlatives here.

The Service

A good waiter has the ability to be all things to all people. They can alter their patter and style from table to table to suit what each of their guests expects/wants. I have rarely seen this done with the consummate ease and genuine sincerity that I did in Tedford's on Saturday evening. Our main waiter was a young guy called Tom. He was the perfect definition of what a good waiter should be, knowledgeable, chatty but not overbearing, quick at the table and sincere. But the supporting cast was just as friendly. The service really impressed me and I waxed lyrical about it for ages after we got home until LMM took my whiskey off me. Huzzah for LMM but two huzzah's for the service.

Alan and Sharon who own and run Tedford's have created a restaurant that is the very definition of modern Irish cuisine. They have taken the best local produce and best local staff and they have created an exquisite, relaxed, sumptuous dining experience. We saved Tedford's for a special occasion, LMM's birthday and it was the best way to celebrate. So the next time you have a birthday, a promotion or a Tuesday do yourself a favour, go to Tedford's.

Tedfords Restaurant
5 Donegall Quay
Belfast
BT1 3EF
Telephone : 028 90 434000

Lunch is served Tuesday to Friday, 12noon to 2.30pm
Dinner is served Tuesday to Saturday, 5.00pm to late
Pre-theatre is served Tuesday to Saturday from 5.00pm to 6.30pm
Lounge Bar is available every Friday & Saturday from 7.00pm to late

20 People trying to get Manuel's attention:

Medbh said...

Oh, I adore monkfish, Manuel. I hate that it gets billed as "the poor man's lobster" when it's just as sweet and tasty as the grand crustacean. The first time I had it was in Kinsale in '96.
Yum.
Your dinner with LMM sounds fab.

Manuel said...

medbh: monkfish is gorgeous....I loves it, especially when it's on someone else's plate...

belfastyouthworker said...

Loved the review, totally tempted to try Tedford's on Tuesday now instead of Nick's Warehouse, always walked past it in wonderment..

Manuel said...

belfast youth worker: oh please do try it......it's worth it....really worth it...

Manuel said...

oh and then let me know...

Anonymous Boxer said...

I feel oddly left out and .... hungry at the same time. :-) BUT, if you're out having fun on a Saturday night with the LMM, then that's a good thing.

healysequoia said...

Tedfords has been on my list for a while now and after that review I'll have to invent an occasion soon! Well looky here tomorrow is Tuesday...

Manuel said...

boxer: you can come next time....

healysequoia: hahahaha do it do it do it!!

sheepworrier said...

Om nom nom. Heard good reports about it from friends, must take a wee trip down sometime.
Somehow the tuna sarnie I've brought in for lunch isn't just as appetising now...

Manuel said...

sheepo: treat yourself soon......oh and go to tedford's too...

boy_wonder said...

manuel and tedford's sitting in a tree k.i.s.s.i.n.g

Manuel said...

boy_wonder: relentless!

MJ said...

Not a single bap on the menu.

Pah.

Manuel said...

mj: yes, bap free.....I had a lovely bap earlier too...floury....

B said...

Probably the biggest sign of my background is how I think McDonald's are the best for high quality cuisine... can't go wrong with a eurosaver, can you?

Manuel said...

b: ah it;s like that scene in Pulp Fiction, you have a eurosaver we have a pound saver.......

Ruby said...

Seems like my kind of place

Manuel said...

ruby: yes, yes it probably is......is you have good taste n that

B said...

Euro saver sounds better though.

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