The worst thing about taking time off is the revenge schedule you get when you go back to work. I was off work for five days and for that I was stiffed with seven in a row including more splits than a ballet class and more doubles than United. So there was no question about what I was going to spend my first day off in seven doing - eating! And nice wearing clothes that don't have my giddy employer blazoned on the shirt pocket.
So I hauled my ass out of bed, got showered, picked a jaunty ensemble and made for East Belfast's latest culinary hot spot, ACE.
Obviously being a boy who has spent more time in the West of the city than the East we managed to get lost. Seriously. It was like the car wanted, nay expected us to go to Il Pirata. So a quick detour round the gentrified and cul de saced East and eventually we found it.
So we went for lunch at ACE and this is what we had...
ACE is the sort of place your friend in London has on their doorstep and that you wish you had on yours. It was great. It's relaxed, friendly, the food is as tasty as you'd expect from the people who brought you The Barking Dog, Il Pirata and the now replaced Gourmet Burger Bar. At a push I would say Il Pirata still edges it but ACE does make the better pork slider with their Pulled Pork version. There is no argument about that. You could argue with me but like creationists, people who tell me Adam Sandler is funny and people who boil their ham in coca-cola you would be proved wrong.
ACE's menu comes in seven categories - all day brunch (they open at 8am), small plates, salads, burgers and sandwiches, digs and sliders, all day supper and sides and extras. There is plenty to choose from and plenty to make me go back. I have left a trail of breadcrumbs to ensure we don't get lost next time.
The chicken was indeed crispy, the meat had a butermilky flavour (although that could have been my imagination) and the guacamole untouched. I am not at home to guacamole. The aubergine chips weren't our first choice but as they were out of the scampi we decided to give them ago and you know what? I was glad I did, they were lush. They were also free due to the scampi shortage. Nice touch there folks. Like I say the slider was even better than the Il Pirata number. The dog with onions and mustard was good but the bun to meat ratio was off and I ended up making a chip butty with the remaining bread. No biggie but I do like my bun to be straining with meat. Ohhh er missus. Oh and the slaw? The slaw is worth a visit on its own. They might look at you funny but what the hell. You get your slaw on.
The wings were good too. But as
ACE was good. A proper brunchy affair and I can see it doing very well. It's very well priced, the service is great and the interior funky without the nonsense, ie you get a seat to sit at and not an upturned barrel. This is important to me as a man nearing his 40th birthday, the ability to sit down in comfort is one thing the ability to walk upright after is another altogether.
All the aforementioned food, large bottle of water and two coffees came in at £32.75.
Ace was aces, I thoroughly recommend it.
ACE Belfast, 20-22 Belmont Roast Belfast. No reservations. Open from 8am to 9pm.