Solo Kitchen Belfast is a fresh new city centre restaurant combining European and Asian dishes and full & bountiful tapas menu. Solo's sister restaurant, the successful Ambrosia on the Ormeau Road is also owned by Michael Karan, who's vision for casual dining in plush surroundings is based firmly in locally sourced, excellent quality ingredients.
The restaurant is located on Wellington Place, opposite 'Home', which makes it an ideal location for pre-theatre dining. In fact Solo Kitchen have a dedicated theatre menu alongside their main menu and tapas selection. The menu focuses on traditional European dishes, but also fine dining versions of Asian favourites, such as Biriyani, Tikka Masala and Honey Chilli Chicken.
The tapas menu has over 35 dish options. Stand out delights for me are Solo's Poca Carne (mini steak, peppered sauce, green beans), Calamari a la Paprilla ( calamari sprinkled with paprika & lemon juice) and Mejillones Con Choritzo (mussels, chroritzo, white whine cream sauce, garlic bread).
Smix and I were invited along last week to try the menu for ourselves. We had just been at Vintage Rocks Hair Salon for a few hours, so we were ravenous!
To begin I chose the avocado and beetroot salad, which is also available as a main course. The dish is a refreshing start to a meal, with an intriguing wholegrain mustard and citrus dressing. It's a light choice, which is great for me, as give me too hefty a starter and I can't even manage half a main course.
The grill and its sirloin steaks certainly tempted me for my main course, but I decided to go with something a little more interesting. I chose the pork belly, served with wholegrain mustard mash, roasted baby carrot, king prawn, black pudding and candied pecans.
The presentation was outstanding, and the veg was cooked to perfection. You can see how green the broccoli is, yet it was soft and delicious. It must have been cooked to the exact second! The mustard mash wasn't too spicy, so it went well with the flavours of the pork belly, without overpowering it with spice. The candied pecans were a playful touch, and the black pudding had a devine clove aroma to it.
The children's menu impressed me with its options of more than just chicken nuggets or burgers. Of course then Smix goes and orders the chicken goujons, but to Solo Kitchen's credit kids can also chose from dishes like honey chilli chicken and steak.
Smix declared his chicken the best he ever tasted, and I'm not sure if it was the long wait at the hairdresser's, but he ate much more than he usually would when we dine out. The children's menu also has dessert choices of a lolly, or icecream.
My dessert choice was tiramisu. It was beautiful, so much so that I managed to squeeze the whole thing in even after two other courses. The dessert menu is very traditional, so it might be fun to see an Asian dessert choice on there to match the rest of the menu, but that's a very minor 'complaint'.
Solo Kitchen hope to appeal to the surrounding city workforce, nipping out for a special lunch, or stopping for cocktails and tapas after the office. Their breakfast menu has just launched, being served from 8am-1130am, which would make it worth while taking an earlier train and having fluffy pancakes or a veggie breakfast before the working day begins. All breakfasts come with free tea or coffee, and a refill!