Saturday, 29 November 2008

The Poet Wasn't Lonely Tonight

By Jove, it wasn't half nippy tonight! Literally freezing, in fact. I'd reserved a table for two at east Belfast's newest restaurant, the Lonely Poet, this evening at seven o'clock.

In the event, it was easy to park the two-seater a few yards from the front door of the Poet - formerly the Queen's Inn. I had taken a short-cut via Cabinhill Park, turning left on to the King's Road. The Lonely Poet is just off King's Road, at King's Square Shopping Centre.

First impressions were good. It's welcoming and comfortable; especially the staff, who all try hard to be cheerful and courteous. The restaurant seemed to be fairly busy too. We were shown to a small table at the front window. I sat on a sort of cushioned, leather, banquette type of seating at the wall; the dowager had a proper arm-chair. It quickly became clear to me that this was not a wise move, on my part, because I sank into my seat making the dining-table slightly too high for me!

We ordered our meal thereafter: two ravioli for starters; one grilled skate for a main course; and two fruit juices.

The portion of our starters was modest. I should immediately clarify that I am not one of those who relish huge platefuls of nosh overflowing with chips, or anything else for that matter! I weigh about 54 kilos. I seem to recall that it consisted of three pieces of fresh mushroom ravioli sitting on a creamy sauce, on a large plate. I, personally, found it bland. I had to sprinkle salt on it, which is unusual for me because I'm normally content with the seasoning on most dishes. The sauce was thin, or runny, and I left most of it. A nice basket of fresh breads to accompany it would have been most welcome.

The Dowager had the same ravioli starter while I ate my grilled skate. She usually finds a starter sufficiently satisfying. Not in this case! The size of the portion was, again, too modest. I was largely satisfied with my grilled skate. I'd never eaten skate before, and it was a mild-flavoured fish, which suited me. It was served on the bone; however, the flesh separated easily from the bones. The fish was served with a piece of pork belly, a smallish portion of mashed potato and kale.

The bill amounted to £28.15. We both found the meal a bit disappointing. Although I quite enjoyed my main course, it was, I felt, expensive for two starters, one main course and two juices. We had no pudding, nor coffee. I thanked the waitress, handed her £31 and we departed.


John Self said...

I'm guessing they're trying to gentrify it since it was the Queen's Inn. The first (and last) time I was in that establishment with some friends for a pre-Xmas drink, they played the "No Surrender" version of the National Anthem at closing, and a friend returned from the gents to note that he had just seen Santa Claus in a fistfight with another patron.

Timothy Belmont said...

Ha ha ha! The new place is certainly smart than that.
It's a nice place; I just wouldn't be terribly enthusiastic.

We're dining at Bistro Iona this Friday with Godmother and I'm really looking forward to that.


John Self said...

I was going to ask where Bistro Iona is as I haven't heard of it, but I decided to google for it instead. Imagine my shame on discovering that it is in Holywood, where I work!

Incidentally, when searching for 'Bistro Iona' on Google, you should feel proud that your blog entry on the venue is on the first page of search results!

Timothy Belmont said...

I'm their surrogate website! :-)