Sunday, 27 January 2019

Nu Delhi, Belfast

Great Victoria Street, Belfast, is a major part of Belfast's Golden Mile.

Certainly during the Troubles this street was buzzing, despite the bombing campaign which destroyed many businesses and livelihoods.

From the Grand Opera House, the Europa Hotel, the Crown Liquor Saloon, and numerous other establishments towards Shaftesbury Square and Bradbury Place, it remains one of the liveliest parts of town.

All of the said establishments are still there and continue to thrive.

I called for the old school pal, NCS, and we motored in a westerly direction into town, where I managed to find a tight space at the Great Victoria Street end of Wellwood Street.

It was cold, windy and wet.

Our venue, the Nu Delhi Indian restaurant, is on the first floor of a building beside Bruce Street and Hope Street.

It used to be the premises of the house-furnishers, Donaldson & Little.

It's probably necessary to reserve a table in this large restaurant at weekends.

We had booked a table and the place was practically full when we arrived at seven o'clock.

The staff gave a good impression on greeting and tending to us during the meal.

As far as Indian cuisine goes I usually opt for something on the mild side, so I ordered Desi Chicken Masala with pilau rice, accompanied by peshwari naan bread and a glass of lassi.

NCS had a popular lamb dish, I think, and we shared the bread with poppadoms and three types of chutney.

While NCS was getting some fresh air at the open balcony, I had a look round and my eyes focused on the ceiling, one of those non-ceilings, bare, un-plastered, concrete, loose cables, vents.

My meal was good, mild-to-medium hot, I should say.

The bread was light and freshly made, I'm sure.

My meal cost about £20 (we went Dutch).

Thereafter we hopped on to the lift, emerged at Great Victoria Street, and walked to Robinson's Bar or, rather, Fibber Magee's.

I don't know whether you've ever frequented this bar, though it's at the rear end of Robinson's, a former alley called Keyland's Place.

Keyland's Place was largely demolished to make way for Blackstaff Square, the most direct means of entering Fibber Magee's.

It's a kind of spit-and sawdust theme bar, a Victorian general merchant's, probably conceived twenty-five years ago by the proprietor of Robinson's.

Robinson's Bar was fire-bombed and demolished in 1991, so Fibber Magee's, one of those renowned faux Irish pubs, dates from that era.

The atmosphere or ambiance is very lively indeed with merry revellers, a few of whom were raucous; singing, dancing to a live duo of singing guitarists, bare wooden floorboards, wooden stools, wooden benches, dimly lit.

It has a large, unlit fire-place.

It's undeniably popular and the musicians were playing their own version of well-known pop songs.

I was sitting beside a Yorkshire plumber (who lived near Guiseley), who, with his wife, was staying with friends in Bangor, County Down.

He'd certainly had his fair share of stout or whatever, and kept repeating himself on topics like Retirement, Skiing etc.

I'd had enough of it all by ten o'clock, and bade farewell to NCS, who decided to remain for the duration.

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