Lunch isn't for wimps: The Potted Hen, Edward Street, Belfast
Just when you thought this column was stretching the boundaries in a geographical as well as culinary sense, we're bringing it all back home.
Well, not home exactly but certainly closer to Business Telegraph towers to one of the restaurants which got away when we first lengthened the shackles from our Royal Avenue base. The Potted Hen has only been open a few months but has already built up a loyal following of punters keen on a lunchtime bite that does a little more than fill a space between lunchtime and dinner. From its location behind St Anne's Cathedral and at one of the entrances to the square of the same name, it is, at the moment, a little off the beaten track but as soon as the neighbouring Metropolitan Arts Centre is finished, the epicentre of Belfast's 'going out' scene will no doubt gravitate further to this very spot and then our secret will be out. The menu gives a first hint at the mood of the food - if you forgive the unintentional rhyme - with a relatively small number of simple dishes bringing a smile to the face of this particular diner. Aside from narrowing down the choice and speeding up the awkward "Ummm, ah, I'll have....oh you go first" moment that waiting staff up and down the country must cringe at, it also means the kitchen is able to run a Japanese-style just-in-time stocking system. I'm kind of guessing at this, but it makes sense and means freshness abounds - which in my book generally means tasty. I'm not going to ramble on about the dishes because from experience they're all excellent although I will say, don't have the Kilkeel prawn risotto with chilli, ginger and coriander if it looks as if they're running short and I'm booked in for a late sitting. Honestly, you wouldn't like it. Of course I jest but to be honest I'd probably be glad if the excellent risotto was off as it would give me the excuse to try the chicken and chorizo burger with homemade bread and chunky chips which has been tempting me from other diners' plates for a while now.