Niall McKenna, chef-proprietor of one of the city’s top fine dining restaurants, James Street South, has brought a little bit of New York to Belfast with this other venture, the classy urban steakhouse that is The Bar and Grill.
This Belfast restaurants housed in an attractive old redbrick linen mill, the exposed brick walls combined with a minimalist look, smart furniture and a sparkling cocktail bar set the upmarket tone, yet the atmosphere is relaxed and informal.
Laid back friendly staff are quick to seat diners and offer a menu which is all about straightforward gutsy dishes and the main event of steak, elevated to lofty smoky heights thanks to the Josper charcoal grill. Capable of reaching very high temperatures, this magnificent bit of kitchen kit gives even the rarest steaks that crunchy caramelised crust and oh-so-desirable charcoal flavour.
Head chef Carl Johannsen offers all the classic cuts including fillet, rib-eye and sirloin sit alongside burgers, chicken, pork chops and rump of lamb, served up with classic sauces and a plethora of appetising sides including an inspired treatment of French fries - dressed with truffle and parmesan cheese...
For those not in the mood for a meaty meal, there is a small selection of salads, pasta and risotto. However the focus really is on the dried aged beef, cooked as you like it over charcoal, perfectly striped with char marks adding that smoky note, giving way to deliciously juicy tender beef. Vegetarians be warned!
The desserts read like a childhood dream of homely, comforting treats, such as a sticky toffee pudding, crème brulée, rice pudding or even a Knickerbocker Glory – no surprises, but then the Bar and Grill is about keeping it simple and classic.
Probably Belfast’s top spot for a classy steak dinner, the Bar and Grill might be at the higher end in terms of price but Carl Johannsen's cooking never falters and it’s worth it. All washed down with some excellent wine (from about £16), a local craft beer or a cocktail or two, it’s a treat to be savoured.