Wednesday, March 04, 2009

deanes and a pig and p in belfast

people gave us strange and pitying looks when we told them we were going to belfast for the weekend. why on earth would you go there?

to eat. which is pretty much my usual answer for why i go anywhere. a girl's gotta eat. i'd been wanting to go to deanes since i read a raving review an age ago.

the ever lovely P, partner in crime, super duper girlfriend and fellow lover of dresses, didn't need much persuasion. she trusts me too much i think.

having left our bags at the malmaison, first stop - st george's market. it's a lovely market - it's tiny, compared to borough, but it's cosy. as we threaded our way through the throng of food stalls, a brass band playing in the background, we walked past a man roasting a pig. we stopped and stared. did we have time for a roast pork sandwich? it was pushing 11, and we did have lunch reservations at 1. P and i came to a consensus - we'll share one, and we'll walk it off. how couldn't anyone not absolutely adore P?

and we were supremely glad we shared the roast pork sandwich - it was without a doubt, the best roast pork sandwich i've ever had. the meat was so utterly moist. i've never had roast pork so unbelievably, lusciously juicy. it almost didn't need the applesauce, which was smooth and sharp with a touch of cinnamon. we tried a little of the herby stuffing. and to top it all off, lashings of crackling. P didn't want her bits of crackling. so she gave me all of hers. again. how couldn't anyone not absolutely adore P?

lunch at deanes was a delight. they seated us near the kitchen, which afforded us a slight view into where the chefs were bustling about, plating up and squeezing little squeezy bottles. we had lunch with a delicious bottle of argentinean malbec which got lovelier as it got decanted and breathed. and as we drank our way through it, we got sillier. it's probably never a good idea to update your facebook status when you've had half a bottle of malbec and way too much silliness going on. but even without the malbec, p and i would have been silly anyway. that's what girlfriends are for. if you can't be silly with your girlfriend, who can you be silly with?

p started with a venison carpaccio. thinly sliced, slightly gamey tasting meat, with slivers of almond and a little cress salad, shavings of parmesean, and little cubes of picked shitake and butternut squash. i had the smoked salmon tart - a warm quivering slither of quiche - smoked salmon infused eggy custard just gently set on a thin, crisp tart base. it came with a watercress and carrot salad and smidgeon of dill and horseradish.

it was a tough choice between the duck and the beef. p had the duck, which came roasted with carrot dauphinoise, pickled pear, confit of more duck, savoy cabbage and a gingerbread puree which made the dish. it was a whimsical touch. the beef (locally sourced no doubt) came with bits of bone marrow and buttered green beans. and triple cooked chips. i was a little non-plussed by the chips if i was to be honest, but then again i've just had a whole summer eating frites in brussels.

puddings were a joy. simple but well done. i had lemon tart - not to curt, but just sharp enough. p had the creme brulee, studded with lots of vanilla specks. she had way too much fun cracking the caramelised sugar top.

i was convinced a weekend in belfast would not have been complete with a proper irish fry (with potato cakes) and irish stew - both of which we had on sunday. it was a little bit of a struggle finding somewhere on sunday morning that was going to do irish fry - Belfast has a strong christian tradition, and the city goes to church on sunday morning. I had been hoping to go to Brights, Chips and Things which i was told was the definitive place to get an irish fry in Belfast, but alas they were closed. we did find a cafe which did the trick. and then for irish stew - the lovely people at malmaison highly recommended Whites, Belfast's oldest bar.

so to all those people who gave me strange and pitying looks - i'll have you know i really enjoyed my weekend in belfast - the locals were absolutely lovely - we were chatted to, given detailed instructions and tips, and just made to feel welcome. people took the time. we had lots to eat. and of course, i had P. any weekend away with P is always going to be absolutely lovely, wherever we are.


Post a Comment

<< Home