Belfast Telegraph food critic Joris Minne's requests to dine at the Members' Dining Room at Stormont were turned down until it was opened up to the public in 2017.
Joris, who speculated at the time the refusals may have been prompted by an unfounded fear that he would poke fun at the lavish subsidised meals being enjoyed by the MLAs, was one of the first to take advantage of its opening to the public.
"It is very nice, very pleasant, traditional, proper Ulster fare - fresh fish, beef, lamb," he remembered.
"You feel as though you are part of a very exclusive club."
But he is a great believer in the idea that food, and its sharing around a table, is hugely important to politics, and notes that it is not unusual for democratic institutions, including the Houses of Parliament and Dail Eireann, to have subsidised meals.
"I completely back the idea, getting people around a table. It is really important," he said, adding that one of his memories from the earlier days of Stormont and one that illustrates for him the importance of food was watching with some disbelief Martin McGuinness and Willie McCrea queuing up together in the downstairs canteen.
And, he added, there was no huge "glow of smugness" that you were enjoying a subsidy while dining in the grand room, as a three-course meal, without wine, costs in the region of £20.
That compares to a three-course lunch at a Michelin-starred restaurant in the city costing around £28.
"There is a distinct sense that we have been permitted access, allowed on to hallowed ground, and should consider ourselves very lucky to be here," Joris wrote in his review.
As for the food, the critic said: "Starters of prawn cocktail are standard and the wheaten bread is fine. Toasted focaccia comes with an array of onion marmalade, oil and another dip of aioli. Another retro classic of watermelon and prosciutto is slightly too warm.
"The steamed hake with pak choi, miso broth and chilli and ginger is cooked too long and the broth, which has decent flavour if a bit overpowered by the ginger, fails to moisten it.
"The pak choi is crunchy and perfect, however. Chicken and cheese croquettes with Caesar salad is innovative and the vegetable frittata is more light Spanish omelette than fried veg."