On a recent trip to Belfast to visit the Christmas markets (yes I know it’s January and I shouldn’t be mentioning Christmas, but context is important), myself and my friend Megan found ourselves craving some comforting food.
We’d been happily pigging out on all manner of cuisines in the markets (not to mention copious amounts of mulled wine), but something was missing. That, of course, was a memorable dining experience.
I’d heard great things about Home restaurant in Belfast, but I was eager to see if they were true. A Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurant, this central venue has maintained their Michelin Bib since it was first awarded in 2014.
On an extremely wet and windy night, we almost barrelled through the door to get out of the cold. Once inside, a wave of warmth came over us and the bustling atmosphere was infectious.
Almost immediately, we were greeted by Brian, our server for the evening. Seating us at one of the rustic tables in the heart of the restaurant, I was struck by the variety of guests dining in this all-day bistro, from elderly couples to girls fuelling up for a night on the town and then the slightly weary shoppers like myself and Megan.
Kicking off our dining experience, we selected a drink from the menu. My cocktail loving friend went for a zesty tipple, while I selected a Spring Creek Riesling from Marlborough, New Zealand (£6.50).
Moving to starters and the Asian Duck Salad with mango, ginger, mint, peanut, tamarind and soy dressing (£7.95) immediately caught my eye. It sounded exactly like my perfect dish.
Across the table, my guest, having heard others (including our server) rave about Home‘s popular Smoked Haddock Beignets with tartare sauce and herb salad (£8.50), claimed one of the last of the night.
One of life’s greatest and simplest joys is when something entices you on a menu and it actually tastes really good too.
With vibrant colours and an uncompromising taste, this starter was fresh enough not to fill me but delicious enough that I finished it and it left me eagerly awaiting the next course.
The Asian duck salad also appears on the restaurant’s skinny dinner menu if you were up for a lighter meal at the beginning of 2019.
The smoked haddock went down very well and my guest could easily see why it was so popular. I snuck a little taste and it was fabulous.
For mains, my guest went for a comforting Herb Roasted Chicken with potato gnocchi, spinach, pickled fennel, cherry tomato and chorizo compote (£15).
In one of those moods where I just couldn’t decide what I wanted, I decided to rely on the knowledge of my server.
After telling Brian my woes (The sweet potato curry or pumpkin ravioli – I was at a loss), he wholeheartedly recommended the Pumpkin Ravioli with chestnut, brown butter and crispy sage (£12.95).
I’m not usually one to order pasta dishes out because I feel like it’s sometimes a waste of an order but Holy God, this was incredible. So packed full of flavour that every bite was a taste of heaven. I had no complaints or even subtle criticisms for this dish. It was pure joy in the winter.
Before my main course arrived, I remembered reading about Home Restaurant and its philosophy, which is “fresh, local and seasonal”.
Their website states that “when you are looking for that unmistakable home cooked flavour combined with innovative menus and a friendly, welcoming atmosphere, there really is no place like Home.”
That really stuck with me throughout my dining experience at Home because there really was a cosy, friendly and even familial vibe throughout the restaurant, from the cushions to the laughter and chatter and dishes that felt like a warm hug.
While we were tempted by the dessert cocktails, a warming cup of coffee caught our eyes first. And you can’t have a coffee without having some dessert too…or so my logic goes.
I ordered the Black Forest Gateau Pot (£6) as I thought it wouldn’t be as filling while my guest went with the Sticky Toffee Pudding and Ice Cream (£6).
After consuming all that was humanly possible, we waddled happily out of the restaurant and back into the cold dark night, feeling warmer than we had before.
So from its birth as a pop-up restaurant to the hit it has become now, I would highly recommend a visit to Home the next time you’re in Belfast. You won’t regret it.
Dinner for two people in Home Restaurant in Belfast city centre came to £77.15.
Sarah has always had a great love of travel, food and photography. Following her journalism degree at DCU, she developed a passion for travel writing while living in Spain.
Named Best Break Out Travel Writer at the 2018 Travel Media Awards, Sarah loves exploring new places and sampling the local cuisine. Working with TheTaste.ie combines her love of food and travel.
A big people person, especially when it comes to hearing other people’s stories, Sarah loves interviewing chefs, food producers and more.