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Lunch isn't for wimps: The John Hewitt, Donegall Street


The John Hewitt, Donegall Street

The John Hewitt, Donegall Street

Darren Kidd

The John Hewitt, Donegall Street

Never let it be said that this column doesn't push the boundaries. On this occasion we forsook the faithful sandwich and dived headfirst into a proper sit-down lunch, albeit in a pub.

The John Hewitt has long been a faithful establishment of journalists and the like from the surrounding Cathedral Quarter of Belfast but aside from its wide variety of thirst-quenching options, it also does a damn fine bit of food.

From the establishment which carries the name of the late poet, socialist and freeman of the city of Belfast, came a plate of pasta which wouldn't have been out of place on the streets of Milan.

Rich in flavour and heavy on pancetta, it provided a surprisingly pleasant midweek lunch and went down well with an excellent, if rather non-Italian, pint of Guinness.

My interviewee, a man of the arts who was still smarting after having to fork out for a bus into the town centre, said his flash-fried minute steak and sautéed vegetables hit the spot.

He was particularly pleased with the Comber new potatoes which accompanied his dish, as was I after having to face his wrath at a previous lunch where the spuds were thin on the ground.

More than sufficiently satiated, we opted for a quick coffee and came away with lunch and a pint for under a score, which is a kind of triumph in itself today.