Smoke, Blindfolds & An Army of Manuels? That’ll be Pop-Up Belfast…!
Almost every post I write on WDF is an account of an experience unique to me and maybe a few other people - the protagonist (usually of some sort of ego trip), me (guaranteed to be on an ego trip) my waiter chums, the valiant cooker jockeys in the kitchen and various level of management. Few, if any of these characters, know that if they keep on keeping on that they will somehow find themselves the star of 1000 word blog post laden with swear words, made up words and misplaced apostrophes. This means that I can't be contradicted, which is just fantastic. Few things wind me up more than being contradicted.
But, this weekend's Pop-Up dining experience will probably turn out to be the most blogged, tweeted, Facebooked dinner in Belfast since the final of last year's Masterchef final. Whilst it was a relief not to be the only one snapping shots of the food, building and waiters it does add a level of pressure. I mean have you seen
Anyhoo, Pop-Up Belfast, a unique dining experience in a unique setting? Was it? Well yes it was, on both counts. The location probably can't be topped, The Titanic Drawing Rooms at Harland & Wolff. I mean how freaking awesome is that? This is where the Titanic was designed! Wow. But, for me, the most difficult/amusing aspect of the evening was the waiters t-shirts with "my" face emblazoned across them. It made me laugh and blush in equal measures. I overheard conversation about this Manuel and Well Done Philip? Oh Fillet. I managed to move away before opinions were offered. I didn't want to fist-fight in polite society. But it was a head tickler and no mistake.
The food, oh mummy, the food was sublime. The stars of the show, for me, being the Beef carpaccio, salmon tartar and the venison.
Anyhoo, we went to Pop-up Belfast and this is what we had...
The Titanic Drawing Rooms at Harland & Wolff - stunning much?!
Smoked saffron air - an accompaniment to the scallops...
The Cousin and I tried to recreate this experience over breakfast by dropping bacon fat into the kettle. Didn't work and the kettle is ruined.
Seared scallops with Almonds, Aubergine and Smoked Saffron Air served with La Grille Chinin Blanc 2010, Loire
Beef Carpaccio, Herring Roe and Quail Egg with Parmesan served with a Mandriolo 2009, IGT Maremma, Morisfarms
Salmon - tea smoked, ballotine, tartar, salmon eggs served with the most glorious Pinot d’Alsace Mettis 2006, Domaine Bott Geyl
Spiced pea soup, black figs, Ibérico ham and goat’s cheese
Venison, yellow beetroot, potato croquettes, artichoke puree & beetroot puree served with Massaya Classic Red 2008, Lebanon
Fingers eh, it's the only way.
Local berries, Chantilly crème and lemon emulsion & pistachio served with Finca Antigua Moscatel 2009 dessert wine.
The food was fantastic, the wine supplied by
I'm not going to lie to you I was worried about this evening. Little Miss Manuel and I are sort of almost control freaks, the good sort, not the Mussolini fascist types. But we do like to dot our I's and cross our T's in advance. For goodness sake we were the first people there on the Friday night. (Much to my amusement and LMMs embarrassment) But we needn't have worried, it was being run by the good folks from The Merchant Hotel and they don't seem to be at home to Mr Cockup. Huzzah for Tony, Adrian, Tracey and the rest.
Pop-up Belfast at the Titanic Drawing Rooms was superb, so superb that I want all my chums to go there and experience the same delights that we did. But they can't because it's gone. It came into our life, popped if you will, stole our hearts and then disappeared. In many respects it was much like a holiday romance - you know it can't last but whilst you're there you may as well fill your boots with food, wine and craic because before you know it you're back home staring at the same pasty-faced mooks that clutter your life.
Farewell Pop-Up...[waves tear-stained hanky at removal vans - fights back tears]
Until next time...