Sunday Life

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Restaurant review: Belfast’s Shu has lost none of its charm over the years and is simply ‘Shuperb’





Shu: 253 Lisburn Road, Belfast. Tel: 028 90381655

IT may be an old stalwart of Belfast’s fine-dining scene, but Shu has never rested on its laurels.

While the pandemic unfortunately decimated a lot of our hospitality industry, the Lisburn Road restaurant used lockdown to undergo a £1million refit and refurbishment.

The result is a buzzing new restaurant in BT9 where you could easily spend the night eating and drinking.

The food speaks for itself, and it’s little wonder that some of chef Brian McCann’s dishes, such as the salt and chilli squid, are on many people’s lists (including my own) of some of the best dishes on any Northern Irish menu.

Shu was packed when I popped in on a Tuesday night, adding to the feelgood factor.

It now has three separate areas under one roof — the main restaurant on the ground floor, which has been extended; the Upper House on the first floor, which hosts private parties and weddings; and Jul’s restaurant and cocktail bar in the basement, which doubles as a gallery to showcase the work of local artists.

 Dining in the main restaurant, we chose two of Shu’s signature starters which have become social media sensations — the salt and chilli squid, and the Korean chicken with gochujang sauce.

The fermented sweet and spicy chilli sauce paired with the crispy fried chicken was exceptional.

If you have not already heard the word on the street about the Shu squid, where have you been? Seriously good food. The tender squid in a crisp, spicy coating is served with three perfectly paired dipping sauces — sweet chilli, wasabi mayo and soy and ginger.

Next up, for main course, were another two substantial plates of food. For me, it was a superb slow cooked blade of beef with horseradish and sourdough crumb with a mushroom ketchup and potato croquette on the side. The meat was just melt-in-the-mouth and fell apart at the first touch of a fork. The crumb added both a crispy texture and extra flavour, with the pungent kick of the horseradish. It was proper comfort food on a wet and windy February night.

On the other side of the table, my son happily tucked into roast rump and slow-cooked lamb shoulder with creamed potato, chestnut puree, roast parsnip and truffle honey. The lamb was perfectly pink, with the different cuts adding a real depth of flavour.

On the side, we shared some wonderful winter greens (including broccoli and cabbage) tossed in a lemon and black pepper vinaigrette.

My main was such a feast that I was unable to order a dessert to myself, so we shared a chocolate fondant with orange sorbet and almond praline. The chocolate oozed out of the middle as soon as the spoon hit the sponge. Truly sensational.

Service was top notch. While some places have suffered in this area in recent times, Shu has retained loyal employees who know the menu, its dishes and wines inside out. They really do go the extra mile to make the dining experience special. Brian, in particular, couldn’t have been more helpful.

Co-owner Alan Reid has said his wish is for Shu to be the kind of destination restaurant you would see in London or New York. Do yourself a favour and make it your next dining destination.

THE Food

Salt and chilli squid£10.50

Korean fried chicken£9

Slow cooked beef£20

Roast rump and slow-cooked lamb shoulder£23

Chocolate fondant£7

Winter greens£4









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