Friday, 13 June 2014

James Street South

I managed to spend half an hour at the venerable Linenhall Library, prior to my other engagements.

I imagine it's a five-minute walk from Donegall Square North to James Street South, or number twenty-one, James Street South, to be precise.

I was filled with great anticipation for my very first visit to The James Street South Restaurant.

Arriving early, after midday, I was greeted and promptly shown to my window table.

One of the first things that caught the beady eye was the little box hedge outside the window, which affords privacy and discretion to patrons. I liked this.

This building was formerly a warehouse, and I could see the markings where horizontal bars used to protect the window.

The staff here are charming. Nothing is too much trouble and customers are treated with great courtesy.

I opted for the a la carte menu. First of all, though, I ordered the Shortcross Gin, served in a tumbler with a shaving of orange peel.

ShortCross Gin is as good a premium gin as I've ever tasted. It has a splendid blend of aromatic botanicals and is distilled locally at Rademon estate, near Crossgar, County Down.

I ordered the English Asparagus, Portavogie Langoustine & Orange Hollandaise Sauce (£7.50) as my first course.

This was flawless: really fresh, tender langoustines resting on a little bed of the sauce.

The nose-bag was positively humming with glee by this stage.

My main course came promptly, too. I chose the Wild Turbot, Comber Potato & Watercress Velouté (£18.50) and a side dish of buttery champ, which came in a miniature copper sauce-pan.

It's widely known how fond I am of good butter (!), so they were generous with it.

The fish was - like the langoustines - cooked to perfection. The Comber potato was served in tiny dice; the velouté subtle.

For pudding, I had the Rosewater Marshmallow, Rhubarb and Custard (£6.50).

This exquisite dessert was served in a tallish, circular dish in layers. The waitress described the various layers to me.

I have to say that this has been one of the finest dining experiences I've enjoyed in Belfast.

The food is served with great diligence and attention to detail.

I gather that the Restaurant is having a major refurbishment later this summer.

I left at about one-thirty. I rounded the bill up, to £60.


THE ULSTER HALL is a few minutes' walk from James Street South, on Bedford Street, so I walked, presented my ticket, and made a bee-line for my favourite seat in the balcony.

There was a BBC Radio 3 Invitation Concert this afternoon. Our excellent Ulster Orchestra was conducted by the celebrated Howard Shelley OBE.

The programme today was the music of Sir Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924).

The soloist in the Organ Sonata Number Two "Eroica" was David Leigh, Assisitant Organist at St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin.

No comments :