I have been keen to try Novelli at City Quays for some time. I sampled Jean-Christophe’s cuisine at the launch of planned restaurant but this was my first visit to the restaurant. I invited my friend Pamela to join me as she is great company and I knew that she was keen to check it out too!
On arrival, we enjoyed a glass of Prosecco and I took my chance to check out the setting. The restaurant is bright, modern and airy with stunning views across the River Lagan.
Head chef, Jim Mulholland offered us his tasting menu and we jumped at the chance. This is a great way to force me out of my comfort zone and make me try dishes that I might mot have ordered. This was a gamble that really paid off as I loved everything that I was served.
First up was Jean-Christophe’s famous French onion soup, topped with a pastry lid. I love french onion soup and this one did not disappoint. It was full of flavour and the pastry lid kept the soup piping hot. I truly could eat this every day.
Next up was Goat’s cheese encased in a beetroot jelly and served with beetroot, tomato and black olive. Beetroot and goats cheese are a dream partnership in my book and this didn’t just taste delicious, it looked stunning too!
For our main course, Jim chose the Turbot with oxtail for us. I have to say, this is not a combination that I would usually choose from the menu but to my surprise, it really worked. The dish was served with Dauphinoise potatoes and kalette. I will confess that I had never tried kalette before. For anyone else who doesn’t know what it is, it is a hybrid vegetable which is a cross between kale and sprouts. Super healthy but very tasty too.
For dessert, we were served a lovely tarte tatin and a stunning Jack-in-the-box pudding. This was a box made from caramel with chocolate mousse inside and decorated with spun sugar. Both of these were delicious and even though we were full to the brim, we kept going
Our meal was washed down with a rather lovely bottle of Talevera Macabeo Savignon Blanc.
One of the highlights of my visit was getting into the kitchen to meet head chef, Jim. He introduced me to pastry chef, Angela who had made the impressive Jack in the box pudding. Jim is a huge supporter of local suppliers and 90% of the restaurant’s food is locally sourced. I also got to meet Michael, the food and beverage manager in the restaurant. I need to give a special shout out to our waitress, Madeleine who was delightful and looked after us extremely well.
Best of all was getting to spend some time with Jean-Christophe Novelli himself. I had met him previously at the restaurant launch but it was lovely to sit and have a chat with him. He is funny and charming and showed remarkable patience at my demands for photos and videos!
I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to the restaurant and was impressed by the setting, the staff and most of all, the food. I can’t wait for my next visit.
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The fabulous food
inside the restaurant
meeting some of the team
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