21 Social has been part of Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter for some time now and although I have had many a night out there with friends, I’ve never dined in the restaurant. This all changed on Thursday night when my sister and I decided it was time to arrange a catch up.
When we arrived, even though we were earlier than our booking, we were warmly greeted and shown to a table. Positioned by the window, we had the perfect spot to watch the world go by. Once settled, it was time to order drinks. We both had quite a mental week and so when our waiter, Ruairí, pitched us the Belvedere Spritz cocktail, which is new on the menu, we were more than happy to give it a go. It arrived beautifully presented with beads of condensation dotting the glass; it tasted just as refreshing as it looked. The only down side – it was far too easy to drink!
Gail and I have a bit of a tradition of ordering the breads to share and so our starter was easily decided. The bread was fresh and tasty and perfectly accompanied by oils and flavoursome tapenades. For our main courses we both chose medium steaks served with chips and pepper sauce. Of course this wouldn’t be complete with out a side of red wine and so we also ordered a glass of the Spanish Merlot as well. The steaks were cooked to perfection; pink in the middle, tender and ever so juicy. The pepper sauce had the lovely kick and the chips were wonderfully crispy. There wasn’t a morsel of food to be found by the time Ruairí came to collect our plates. Whilst we were both fit to burst, we only had room for a cocktail for dessert…well that was our excuse for sampling another cocktail from the menu. Gail is a huge fan of expresso martinis and as I haven’t tried them before, I figured no time like the present and so we ordered two of them. I have been seriously missing out, expresso martinis are heaven in a glass if you’re a coffee lover; I will definitely be indulging in these again.
Although it took me a long time to dine at 21 Social, it won’t be anywhere near as long until I return. The interior is modern and inviting, the food is bursting with flavour and presented with care and attention whilst the drinks menu is varied, reasonably priced and the cocktails are mixed to perfection. I also have to say the staff are fantastic. Ruairí was a delight: he was incredibly professional but also warm and friendly, even sharing a joke with us when we realised the name on the receipt showed up as Paula instead of Ruairí.
Putting the ‘social’ into Belfast, 21 Social is definitely worth checking out if you are looking for quality food, drinks and hospitality.