13 Rosemary Street,
Belfast BT1 1QA.
Tel: 028 90314111
I had probably walked by this restaurant almost every day for the past 20 years without ever stepping foot inside.
That was my loss as after my recent — and first — visit to Blu on Rosemary Street in Belfast city centre, I could quite quickly become a regular.
From the outside the restaurant looks very unassuming and that may be one of the reasons I never ventured in. On the inside the decor is quite quirky and won’t be to everyone’s favour. With black wallpaper and mirrors and blue lights, I felt it had an 80s vibe, though the background music from my favourite era may have played a part there too.
The food also very much did the talking. One of the most mouth-watering plates of food I have seen in some time came in the form of one of the starters, the bread platter. With different flavours of bread (including tomato and olive), the platter came with five dips including sun-blushed tomatoes, hummus, tapenade and pesto.
It was a fabulous plate of food, as was the other starter of Strangford mussels in a red curry, lemongrass and coconut cream broth. As a huge fan of both mussels and curry, this ticked all the boxes for me and I used the accompanying crusty bread to mop up all of the broth.
Both main dishes were also winners. The pan-seared wingbone chicken stack was topped with honey-roasted vegetables and a very moreish smoked bacon and vintage cheddar mash (tastes as good as it sounds) with chicken jus on the side (pepper sauce is also an option). The chicken was so succulent and all the flavours worked wonderfully together.
My 12oz sirloin steak was cooked a perfectly pink medium as requested. It came with a superb stilton crusted portabello mushroom, burst vine tomato and a peppercorn and whiskey sauce. I also ordered triple cooked chips on the side. Again the entire plate was faultless. Blu also had quite a few specials on. I almost ordered the 16oz T-bone steak but in the interests of this review, tried dishes that are always on the main menu. Other staples include crispy duck, slow-cooked leg of lamb, pistachio nut roast, tempura of hake and salmon.
Unfortunately, I was too stuffed for dessert as they definitely don’t scrimp on portion size but the sticky toffee pudding with candied butterscotch sauce and the assiette of desserts (a trio of Sicilian lemon tartlet, baked Belgian chocolate cheesecake and raspberry torte) all caught my eye.
On social media I have noticed a lot of people enjoying the cocktail menu at Blu and it definitely is a big draw. Mostly priced at £8.50, their Espresso Martini (again a generous size), Passionfruit Gin Martini and mojitos seem to be among their best sellers. The Pink Grapefruit Martini we tried certainly went down well.
One thing you should be aware of is that a 10% service charge is automatically added to your bill. Normally that is a gripe of mine unless it is for a larger group but the service was among the best I have experienced in Belfast so was well worth it. A lot of other establishments across Northern Ireland could learn from this service.
Bread platter £6.95
Sirloin steak £23.95
Chicken stack £16.95
Espresso Martini £8.45
Pink Grapefruit Martini £8.50
Belfast 1912 Cask Gin
and tonic x2 £17.80
10% service charge £9.43
THE RATING –