A couple of weeks ago, I went to the opening night of Number 27 Talbot Street, a new Belfast restaurant. And to say that it was bloody brilliant would be an understatement.
Now, you shouild probably know that the place is owned and run by Vic's best friend's husband. But I have more integrity than you can stick a shake at, and the stingy gits absolutely refuse to give me any freebies, so I don't care. I certainly wouldn't've plugged the place without trying the food. And now I have tried the food, and It Is Good.
The decor is "unashamedly modern" — that was the phrase used by the designer, into whom I bumped at some point. But it's different. A lot of pubs and restaurants these days are spaces that might look cool in a photo but aren't such welcoming places to sit and have a drink and a chat. Number 27 is different: lots of hard shiny surfaces, but without being unfriendly. There are some beautiful, warm works of art on the walls. And the lighting is simply gorgeous. It's just a fundamentally nice place to be.
And the food. At the opening night, we were provided with copious platters of canapes, all of which were little sample-sized versions of stuff off the menu. So while I may not have had an actual meal there, I've tried a lot of what's on offer. The sushi is superb. The frito misto is superb. The risotto is superb. The roast beef is some of the best I've ever had. The weird little parcels containing inexplicably pink goat's cheese are wonderful. The melted taleggio on toast is... well, any idiot, me included, can melt taleggio on toast, but the chutney that came with it was perfect. I haven't had such good food in years.
In short, I fully intend to eat there again, even if my so-called friends do insist on charging me for the privilege. Maybe they'll change their minds after reading this. Fingers crossed.