Restaurant review: We take a bite out of Miel et Moi
708 Lisburn Road, Belfast. Tel: 028 9068 2641
Don't be fooled by the dainty picket fences - this Lisburn Road eatery serves up tasty lunches that will satisfy the most masculine of diners.
Tucked between a snooker hall and a former off-licence, Miel et Moi is defiant in its prettiness. A rose between two thorns, the mint green and pink frontage, green picket fence and faux lawn are so Wisteria Lane I am worried that my lunch date with a male friend may send him the wrong signals.
But too late. I have arrived early and bumped into two local business women, interior designers, who are enjoying tea and Viennese whirls on the sunny terrace.
They absolutely love the place and the way it looks and feels. And the servers are all gorgeous, adds one.
My friend Geoff pulls up alongside the picket fence on board a vast and throbbing Triumph motorcycle. He is six feet seven and in leathers, the philosophical and physical opposite of Miel et Moi. But nobody minds his dark arrival. It takes more than a giant in leathers, exhaust fumes and engines to unsettle Lisburn Road wives for whom Miel et Moi appears to have been specifically designed.
We secure a table in the sunshine and soon the servers are out delivering menus and drinks. They know how to greet, how to welcome and how to settle arriving customers. Even though there is a queue, everyone seems happy. They are being well managed with soothing reassurances that a table will be free shortly.
Miel et Moi is more than a patisserie in which to be seen. Although this is a key component of its success, there is also substance. They do breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. Breakfast is an inexpensive choice which includes eggs Benedict on English muffin for £7.95, three-egg omelette with streaky bacon, crushed avocado for £8.25, French toast, maple syrup and blueberry butter with bacon or banana for £5.95 or your less indulgent options of granola, porridge and other roughage for as little as £4.25.
We are here for lunch and it's a tough call. The menu features all those continental type lunches you'd have in your rented French villa: chicken liver parfait with apple and grape chutney on toasted sourdough, artichoke, asparagus and sunblush tomato pasta, crab, fennel, apple and confit tomato salad among them.
Geoff is going through a French peasant phase and goes for the "rustic ham and charcuterie board, cheeses, baby vegetables and crusty bread. An enormous wooden board laden with bricks of moist and chunky ham hock, wedges of cheese and crunchy veggie bits and bobs would perhaps not pass muster in the remote farms I once worked in the Massif Central, the heart of rustic France (the cheese isn't on the point of turning a stinking black with heat and age), but Terence Conran would certainly approve.
Everything on the board is well considered and comes in surprisingly great volumes.
Even Geoff struggles to finish and I have to step in.
The quiche du jour is a vegetarian offer with asparagus and peppers. Not expecting explosive entertainment from a quiche, imagine the pleasure of first seeing a large deep slice taken from what must have been a sizeable bake and then discovering the short crust pastry to be perfectly brittle and full of wheaty wholesomeness. The eggy quiche is light as an airy omelette and the asparagus and other bits within plentiful. It's the best veggie quiche I've ever had.
Miel et Moi buns and pastries will have to be reviewed another day. As will dinner. The dinner menu looks modest but appetising: filet of beef, tiger prawns with chilli and herb butter for £14.95, wild mushroom risotto (£9.25), pasta of the day (£8.75), pan seared filet of cod with green beans, chorizo and olives in tomato sauce (12.95) are all dishes I would be keen to try. It's licenced too.
In the meantime the biker and I can vouch for the lunch we had, the gorgeousness of the servers and the general sense of hospitality and quality the place offers. And you don't have to be a Lisburn Road wife to be part of this club. If they let us in, you'll be fine.
Large macchiato x 2 £4.70
Diet Coke £1.95
Sparkling water £2