On Monday night, my sister Gail and I headed to Belfast City Centre for a long overdue sisters’ night. What better way to catch up than over good food and drinks as Margot – a beautiful basement bar located beside City Hall – hosted a special evening with Boatyard Distillery.
When we arrived, we were shown to our table and presented with a tall and refreshing glass of Boatyard Gin with London Essence tonic and a wedge of pink grapefruit. It certainly hit the spot as we looked over the evening’s menu.
For the event, the Margot chefs created an exciting array of dishes. The food was matched with a selection of inventive Boatyard Distillery cocktails – all served with a Margot twist.
Before each course, we heard from Ciaran of the Boatyard Distillery, who gave a little bit of background on the Distillery, such as how it got its name, as well as the history of each of the signature serves used to make the cocktails. Ciaran was engaging whilst his charismatic style managed to retain the attention of a room full of tipsy people as he told the Boatyard story – very impressive.
The food menu offered a meat dish or vegetarian alternative. For starters I opted for the smoked salmon and Kilkeel crab whilst Gail chose the beetroot carpaccio. The dishes were beautifully presented and full of flavour. They were followed by the Babylon cocktail which had a base of the Boatyard sloe gin and an accompaniment of apricot brandy to create a warm, bold and tantalising mixture presented with a floating flower; I think this visually stunning concoction was my cocktail of the night.
Next up was a palate cleanser: locally made raspberry sorbet. This was a treat for the senses and provided a wonderful interlude to the meal.
The next cocktail was the Boatyard Old Tom. This highball combined Boatyard Old Tom with fino apple sherry, cinnamon honey and peach soda – it was like autumn in a chilled glass
For mains there was no competition for me, I opted for the meat dish when I saw braised short rib on the menu. Served with creamy orange and herb polenta, this creation was delicious. The meat was tender and soft yet powerful as the flavours enhanced each other.
I was excited for our next cocktail: the frothy Blueberry Hill. To create this masterpiece, Boatyard vodka, cointreau, citric acid, milk caramel, blueberries and an egg white were mixed to create a sweet yet sharp taste.
This was accompanied by dessert: a chocolate mousse laced with chantilly cream and served with smashed honeycomb and toasted hazelnuts. As someone with a sweet tooth, this ticked all the boxes for me and finished the meal off on a real high.
All that was left was a final cheers with an exquisite cocktail: the Martinez. This creation, which combines Boatyard Old Tom, vermouth and campari, may have been miniature but it packed a punch.
As we headed into the cold night air, there was a warm glow in my tummy and a smile on my face. Margot and Boatyard Distillery certainly proved to have all the right ingredients to serve up a memorable evening.