Out for lunch: Enjoy a sea change at the Titanic Hotel
After interminable months of breakfast, lunch and dinner at home, in the same dining room, with the same people, eating pretty unspectacular, repetitive meals, we were hungry for a change of scene, so when restrictions lifted and eating out was back on the menu we booked a table at the Wolff Grill in Belfast’s elegant Titanic Hotel, which is fashioned from the historic headquarters of the Titanic’s builders, Harland & Wolff.
Although the world has been in a state of chassis, the restaurant experience, I’m happy to say, isn’t that different to pre-Covid times. Ok, the waiting staff wear masks, and so must we when we are seated at our table, there’s hand sanitiser on the table, and the space between us and our neighbours is wider, but apart from that, it’s business as usual.
The atmosphere on a Sunday lunchtime was convivial, with dolled-up diners obviously relishing the novelty of restaurant-going, whilst enjoying the views towards the spectacular Titanic Belfast building and historic slipways where Titanic and her sister ships Olympic and Britannic were constructed.
As one would expect, the Wolff Grill has a nautical aesthetic, with chandeliers re-imagined with thick whorls of dangling rope, sea-blue banquettes, pulley lights and the piece de resistance, the original chief draughtsman’s office, which has been relocated to the restaurant and offers a private, super-cosy dining experience.
Employing the finest locally sourced ingredients, the restaurant offers a delicious menu for adults and children. For starters I had goat’s cheese bon bon, red onion, shallot pickle - a scrumptious, fresh and zesty affair. Next time I will select the sweetcorn and chilli soup as it must surely be imbued with magical powers, for it evinced a smile of delight and a sentence (“It’s lovely”) from my normally grouchy teenager.
The mains on offer include slow roasted beef, free range chicken, Cambrooke sugar pit pork loin and tomato and basil risotto. As a pescatarian I opted for the pan fried salmon, baby potatoes, balsamic beets and horseradish yoghurt. The dish was a triumph of tantalising textures and delicate flavours. My partner’s risotto, meanwhile, looked stunning and was luxurious on the palate.
Despite carrying a couple of lockdown spare tyres, desserts, we felt, were de rigour. I opted for the cheesecake of the day - a raspberry and passion fruit confection, that was as colourful, as it was tasty, whilst the kids had ice cream and my partner had apple crumble, which, thankfully was old school, and not some deconstructed, poncey nonsense.
We were a bit early for Father’s Day, which is on Sunday, June 20, but lunch at Wolff Grill would offer a lovely treat for the special man, plus dads will also get a complimentary pint of Guinness - and let’s face it, where better to enjoy a sea change after the year we’ve had than at the Titanic Hotel.
By Helen McGurk