Tucked down an alley way just shy of City Hall, Made In Belfast, a cavernous New York-style warehouse, is hot on style but a little lacking in substance.
Mismatched furniture, vintage crockery and retro chalkboards mix with many, many dangly lamps creating an Aladdin’s cave of cool.
First impressions were good. Smily staff, warm greeting, busy restaurant and interesting looking menu. Made In Belfast clearly prides itself on cooking with fresh, local ingredients from Irish and Northern Irish farmers. There are large, colourful storyboards to prove it: free range eggs; pigs bred in fields rather than factories (with hidey holes to shelter in if it gets cold); Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall friendly fish, bought in season and from sustainable sources; and beef which get ‘more TLC than Paris Hilton’. According to the website anyway.
Unfortunately, the food didn’t quite live up to expectations. I can forgive the farmer-sized portions – it was bordering on Baltic outside – but despite its carefully sourced origins there were a few fundamental flaws. The bread was slightly dry, but not as dry as the homemade fish fingers, which could have done with less cooking and more of the love lavished on the fingers of their living cousins.
The club sandwich was apparently spot on, however, and the chips weren’t half bad. Hot, fat and home cut.
The meal was redeemed by the puddings. A creamy, fruity cheesecake and a white chocolate pot complete with popping candy both got the thumbs up.
With a little less attention to the frills and a little more to the cooking this place could be a real wee gem.