Hot Press - - The Phantom - ED­WIN McFEE

253 Lis­burn Road, Belfast Tel: +44 (0)2890381655

Es­tab­lished in Oc­to­ber 2000, the ever-al­lur­ing

Shu Restau­rant can be found in an el­e­gant Vic­to­rian ter­race on Belfast’s suit­ably swanky Lis­burn Road. Named af­ter the an­cient Egyp­tian god of at­mos­phere, the multi-award win­ning eatery is fur­nished in a con­tem­po­rary style to cre­ate a bright and highly at­trac­tive space.

It fea­tures a 90-seater main restau­rant, mas­ter­minded by lead­ing lo­cal de­signer

Paul Horscroft and in­cor­po­rates a base­ment cock­tail bar. But the restau­rant’s goal to­day is the same as it was nearly 20 years ago – to serve French-in­flu­enced food, us­ing the best sea­sonal in­gre­di­ents, at very rea­son­able prices.

To start, I chose the en­tic­ing Ewing’s

Smoked Salmon with Buck­wheat Blini, horse­rad­ish cream cheese and le­mon oil (£8), while my com­pan­ion picked the Foie Gras

and Chicken Liver Par­fait, with Ar­magh ap­ple and chilli jelly and toasted sour­dough (£7.50). My por­tion would have been enough for a main course, with the tangy horse­rad­ish cream cheese a per­fect com­ple­ment to the smoky fish. My friend’s choice was a hit too – hav­ing sam­pled some, this rather decadent dish comes highly rec­om­mended.

For mains, from a great se­lec­tion of fish which in­cludes Roast Hake and Roast Stone Bass, I de­cided on the Roast Monk­fish with

Jerusalem Ar­ti­choke, sauté pota­toes and chest­nut mush­rooms (£23). From a meat se­lec­tion that in­cludes Slow Cooked Lamb Shoul­der and Roast Corn Fed Chicken, my friend opted for the Him­i­layan Salt Aged

Sir­loin, with hand­cut chips, wild mush­rooms and truf­fle but­ter (£26.50). You can make a mess of monk­fish (it goes rub­bery pretty eas­ily), but mine was packed with flavour and melted in the mouth. Mean­while, my friend’s steak was cooked to per­fec­tion: teamed with the truf­fle but­ter, it was ut­terly scrump­tious.

To wrap things up, we or­dered the se­lec­tion of Euro­pean and Ir­ish Farm­house

Cheeses, which came with ar­ti­san bis­cuits and pear chut­ney (£8.50). Ser­vice was flaw­less through­out and, though Shu was packed

(be warned – you need to book in ad­vance), they made sure that ev­ery­one was made to feel spe­cial. That is the mark of a very good restau­rant.

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