Belfast has some wonderful restaurants to choose from and with that in mind, when I’m going out for a meal I always try to go somewhere new. I was still feeling the post-Christmas pinch recently (eek) and a meal with my best friend usually involves the wine costing more than the food, so we decided to look into BYOB restaurants in Belfast City Centre.
We decided to go with The Lantern, ideally situated on Wellington Place, and only a short walk from both of our offices.
The BYO policy here is restricted to wine and beer only, with corkage set at £3.00 per bottle of wine and 65p per large bottle of beer. Pretty reasonable in my opinion. So reasonable in fact that my friend and I brought along three bottles between us to really enjoy the evening….
We availed of the pre theatre menu which is served from 5pm to 7pm and offers two courses for £16.50 or three for £20.50 (I naturally went for three courses to enjoy dessert…).
I found the restaurant to be small, yet cosy and it was at capacity when we arrived which I always take to be a good sign. The atmosphere was relaxed and friendly and I didn’t feel under any sort of pressure to rush ordering etc. When we arrived, one of the staff took our wine to put in the fridge to keep cool whilst we ate. We were given fresh glasses and an ice bucket without prompting when we migrated to a bottle of prosecco showing the staff’s subtle attention to detail.
Now, onto the food. I have a bit of a new found weakness for goat cheese, so when I seen the “Goat Cheese Spring Rolls” on the menu for starter, I had to order them. They did not disappoint. The filo was crispy yet light, and the goat cheese was light as air. They came dressed in a sweet chilli sauce and along with a side salad, both of which were fresh and enjoyable.
For main course, I opted for the “Glazed Pork Belly” which came with champ, honey- glazed parsnips and raisins in a beautiful jus made from the roasting juices and cider soaked raisins. The pork was mouth-wateringly tender and the accompaniments were perfectly paired. Let’s just say, there was a clean plate and a full stomach at the end.
Even though I was thoroughly stuffed, I couldn’t resist the dessert temptation and had to order the sickeningly sweet “Sticky Toffee Pudding”. This was served hot, with a dollop of vanilla ice-cream and lashings of toffee sauce. I really enjoyed it, but I have had better in my years of being a pudding connoisseur.
In all, I found the staff to be the restaurant’s greatest asset, just behind the food. They could not have been more attentive, welcoming and charming. They continually ensured that we did not wait on our wine from the fridge (very important) and could not have been more helpful with any queries we had in relation to the food etc. Our table was reserved for a later sitting at 7.30pm and we had to move outside to finish our last bottle of wine off. However, when the booking didn’t show up, we were ushered straight back in again to the warmth with an apology for asking us to move to begin with.
In short, I would highly recommend The Lantern!
What’s your favourite BYO restaurants in Belfast?
Thanks for reading!