Saturday, 29 August 2009

Friday Night Is Music Night

The BBC Radio 3 summer concert season is rolling on; and the rejuvenated Ulster Hall in Bedford Street, Belfast, is still pre-eminently suitable for such an occasion. The Ulster Orchestra with their guest leader, Morven Bryce, was in very good form last night for an almost full house.

The guest conductor was the admirable Jane Glover, CBE; and she received lengthy applause at the end. Hugh Tinney, the Irish pianist, was the soloist tonight: he played Hamilton Harty's Piano Concerto with great aplomb.

Prior to the concert, I dined early at Beatrice Kennedy's Restaurant on University Road. I ambled in, not having booked, and was shown to a good little table close to the window. There were about a dozen other diners in the restaurant. I opted for the Express Menu, which is served from 5-7pm, having the soup du jour, which was onion and thyme; followed by the Moroccan spiced shoulder of lamb.

I was slightly disappointed by the soup, finding it just a touch thin and bland. It must have been well blended because I couldn't detect any onion therein. Still, it was perfectly acceptable; and BK's home-made wheaten bread with butter is always a treat.

When I ordered the lamb, I was uncertain whether to order an extra side dish of potato or vegetables. I didn't bother and my judgement turned out to be correct: there was a substantial portion of very lean, well cooked shoulder of lamb. I like this cut. It is naturally fatty; however, the lean meat can be plentiful and has a very good flavour. I hasten to add that my helping had practically no fat at all. It was good.

The Express Menu costs £13.95 and they bring you the bill accompanied by their signature milk-chocolate discs - as a sweetener! I feel it's good value, bearing in mind that this is real food.

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