Monday, 22 December 2008

Fine dining At Beatrice Kennedy's

We had drawn up a short-list of preferred restaurants for my birthday: Alden's; Balloo; Beatrice Kennedy's; and another that I cannot recall, I'm afraid. We opted for BK's. Beatrice Kennedy's restaurant is at 44, University Road in Belfast; it's very close to Queen's University, in fact.

The taxi - one of those ghastly "people-carriers" - collected us at 7:10 pm on the dot, courtesy of Valuecabs. We were conveyed to the restaurant within 15 minutes at a cost of £6.90. BK's was not busy when we arrived; and our little table was at the wall opposite the door. BK's is a small , romantic and intimate restaurant. Service is very good indeed, as are the standards.

I must admit to a certain partiality now: I am rather fond of BK's. Our table was well laid, with a vintage brass candlestick, lit; a posy of red carnations; gleaming cutlery; white tablecloth and napkins. My side-plate was missing; so, instead of causing a fuss, I acquisitioned one from an empty table! I needed it for the exquisite, home-made wheaten bread which they brought to us. The bread was really fresh, soft and almost sweet; and it came with a small dish of butter. It was the best wheaten bread I have eaten for years. Honestly.

I ordered seared scallops on Clonakilty black pudding as a starter. This, I believe, is one of Mr McCarthy's signature dishes. It was sublime. The little scallops complemented the crumbly black pudding magnificently.

My main course consisted of Finnebrogue (County Down) venison with braised red cabbage, fondant potatoes and red wine jus. The venison was gently cooked, rare. It was sliced and accompanied with a tangy concoction of finely-sliced red cabbage in a sauce. If I have an ever-so-slight criticism, the potatoes were a touch prosaic for my taste. They were served whole, medium sized. I'd have preferred baby potatoes tossed in chives, I think. That is subjective, of course. This was another accomplished meal. The meat was tender, succulent and lean; easy to digest. The cabbage was anything but prosaic! It tasted much more exotic than that. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The Dowager had smoked haddock with celeriac remoulade and crispy shallots (a starter). I didn't taste it. However, the haddock looked good and was not too smoked.

I indulged in as light a pudding as possible. Basically it was pannacotta with a concentrated fruity sauce, or coulis. I simply could not find fault with it at all. It was a sumptuous dessert.

We drank a bottle of rosé méthode champenoise with our dinner; and I had a glass of cognac too.

We could have spent as long as we wished at our table. Some establishments arrogantly tell you that your table must be vacated at a certain time. Not so with BK this evening. We felt totally relaxed and unrestricted in that sense.

We spent about two hours at BK's. I ordered a taxi - Valuecabs - having settled the bill with them and the taxi (a proper saloon car) arrived within two minutes! Apparently Mondays are quiet. This one was, at any rate.

The bill came to about £64, including the tip; excluding the taxi! The bills always come with nice little discs of milk chocolate; we had about ten. Beatrice Kennedy's restaurant must be one of the best restaurants in Belfast. It would be presumptuous of me to claim it's the best, since I have not eaten in every Belfast restaurant.


Owen Polley said...

Have you eaten in Shu or Molly's Yard?

Timothy Belmont said...

I haven't. Been there yourself?

Owen Polley said...

Excellent restaurants. They'd be my favourites in Belfast. Molly's Yard is a cosy little place off Botanic which has its own micro-brewery. The steak with whiskey sauce is just mouth watering. Shu is perhaps a bit more formal, and it's long been considered one of Belfast's best eateries. I'd recommend you give them a bash.

Timothy Belmont said...

Thanks Chekov. I look forward to that. Molly's Yard sounds particularly handy, where it is.


John Self said...

I agree with Chekov about Shu - haven't been there in years (indeed, we seem to end up at Beatrice Kennedy more often) but its high reputation is well deserved.

Molly's Yard is easy to miss - down an alley at the back of what used to be (and soon will be again) Duke's Hotel. In fact opposite the alleyway which used to be the entrance to the QFT pre-makeover.

I do like Molly's Yard, for its intimate atmosphere (it couldn't seat more than about 30 people upstairs and down), though I must admit the two meals I've had there have been slightly disappointing. I would definitely go back and give them another try though.

Unknown said...

Tim a friend of mine called Donna actually set the restaurant up! She worked as a manager in Villa Italia for many years and always admired the unused building. After many years she discovered it was the old surgery of the long retired Doctor Kennedy. Inside were many curious items, still present, from his time there. Now deceased his family allowed Donna to rename the restaurant in honour of the Doctors wife - Beatrice Kennedy!


Timothy Belmont said...

Roger, that is fascinating.I love to hear little anecdotal facts like that. Thanks!


Elizabeth said...

We learn something every day-how interesting to find out how Beatrice Kennedy's restaurant got it's name.
It must surely rank as one of the best in the north of Ireland-super food,lovely table settings,good service and excellent value.

Kind regards Elizabeth.