Titanic Belfast is the world’s largest Titanic visitor attraction, with a museum, conference centre and several banqueting rooms and restaurants. The building which opened in April 2012, has a structure that replicas the four bows of the Titanic Ship.
Bristo 401 Titanic Belfast's ground floor self-service restaurant by day is being transformed into a popup dining experience especially for Belfast Restaurant Week 6-13 October 2012.
Lastnight I had a sneak preview of Titanic Belfast's first Popup at Bristo 401.
With large plants screening the self-service area and the tables set with fine linens, Bristo 401 had been dressed carefully. The addition of low lighting, jazz music, and a view out into the lights of the Belfast dockyards make the space feel intimate.
Impressed by the demonstration of Northern Irish food provenance on the menu, which offers a choice of five starters and mains and four deserts, I was please to hear from Head Chef Leo Small 'Northern Irish produce is amongst the best in the world and what I love about using local Northern Irish suppliers, apart from the quality of their produce, is the passion of the producers, their desire to work with us, to try new things and be creative, nothing is too much trouble for them. There is so much fantastic food created and grown here. There really is nothing better for me as a chef than to offer my customers fresh food from local farmers. Everything we use in our kitchens is fully traceable from farm to fork.'
The menu has been carefully thought out. Offering pairings of ingredients to both compliment and juxaposed each other, bringing something exciting to the palate.
A fine dining experience, with a rustic feel. A the presentation merged beautiful plated service with wooden boards and tin mugs.
Seafood Chowder, which had a brothy like consistency, making it a lighter option than normal, was served in a tin mug, reminiscient of the ship's crockery used for steerage passengers, alongside a really tiny wheaten bread. It was the removal of the heaviness that struck me as inspired meaning that the diner has room for the heavier meaty main courses.
The duck salad, paired very pink and tender meat with a light blue cheese which brought a sharpness to the succlent fattiness of the duck. Goat's Cheese and Beetroot is always a winning combination in my book, the fritter's on the menu were little balls, which when punctured burst forth a herby creamy goat's cheese, the crunchiness of the coating on the fritter's brought a needed bite to the softness of the cheese and earthiness of the beetroot.
Goat - not usually seen on fine dining menus, is a welcome surprise to the Popup menu. Goat meat would have been served to third class passengers on board the ship herself, as a cheaper form of protein, but none the less tasty for that. The curry was dry and properly made. As the meat was juicy, sweet and spicey, each bite holding the flavour of the cumin and garam masala. The jewel like pomegranates brought a glimmer of ruby beauty to the dish.
Mushroom Wellington - used meaty portabello mushrooms, roasted red peppers and artichoke hearts, encased in a puff pastry, served with a brush of celeriac puree, and a little cone of polenta chips. The sweetness of the peppers complimeted the earthy flavours of the artichoke hearts, while the puff pastry brought a light crispness to the otherwise moist veggies.
An 18 hour slow braised Daube of Beef, presented meat so soft it crumbled at the touch of a fork. Sweet and moist there was as depth of flavour reached only by long slow cooking. The mash had a hint of rosemary which brought a little spike of sharpness that nicely complimented the richness of the dish.
At first glance I did wonder how after such a rich starter and main, there was room for pudding, especially desserts like crumble, or rice pudding. I was assured they were small, and they really were. Little mouthfuls of delight. A rice pudding was topped with slicely burnt peaches, which cut through the sweetness of the milky rice. The lemon curd tart's Pistachio ice cream was a real winner offering good sized chunks of nuts mixed with a light and cold ice cream, offering a sweetness to the tart lemon. The whiskey ice cream, was a winner with only a mild whiskey taste, which didn't over power the honeyed fruit of the crumble.
At £50 per couple, food this of this thought and quality, served in a setting that was both edgy but serene, by pleasant staff is very good value.
Let me know what you think when you try it out ...
Today I'm linking up with Kent weakly for Sweet Shot Tuesday. I hope you'll join us www.kentweakley.com
That's it for now ...
Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable