Eat out: 7 spices in St Anne’s Square, Belfast – In pod we trust

7 spices,

7 Place Sainte-Anne,

Belfast,

BT1 2LR.

028 9031 0210

7spicebelfast.online

WHEN it opened in October 2020, 7 Spice in St Anne’s Square in Belfast did more than the usual fanfare that accompanies a new restaurant.

It wasn’t because of some fancy big name in the kitchen or a celebrity, or really any other reason that existed before March of that year.

It was because the outside of the place was lined with five glass pods that looked like they might be hanging from a Ferris wheel or nestled inside a spaceship bound for a planet we don’t have. not yet destroyed.

Either way, as they simply sat on solid ground outside a Bangladeshi restaurant, they felt like something from a future no one could have imagined less than a year ago. earlier, mainly because that’s exactly what they were.

Opening a restaurant in the midst of a pandemic could never be business as usual, which is where the pods came in for Luthfur Ahmed, the man also behind one of the stalwarts of South Asian cuisine in Belfast, Bengal Brewery.

When the excellent Dumpling Library opened a few meters away in the same square the following summer, it had its own modules. There’s more to them than just not wanting to catch Covid, which is probably why they’re still popular and why everyone was eating at 7 Spice while we were there – still in the middle of a pandemic, l spirit – took the pod option.

Self-contained, heated and able to accommodate up to eight people, the pods are a comfortable place, even when the rain hits the glass.

For other people, the very idea of ​​these pods is anathema. A big part of why you go to a restaurant is for the buzz, the atmosphere, the interaction.

But, for some, hell is other people, so being able to limit yourself to those you truly love will always be a bonus.

The staff are friendly and attentive and manage to be unobtrusive while never leaving you feeling forgotten in your isolation. Not the easiest thing in the world.

It doesn’t matter where you were seated if the food they brought was not as good as what 7 Spice has to offer.



7 Spices in St Anne’s Square, Belfast. Photo by Hugh Russel.

That’s with one exception – the “Tree of Life,” which is half a cauliflower, broccoli stalks, asparagus, peas, carrots, and green beans. A word of warning: you have to really love cauliflower. I really like that. Don’t hum his greatest hits. Know the lyrics to each B-side.

The tomato based sauce does get warm, but the main issue, aside from the amount of cauliflower, is that despite the menu’s claims, it hasn’t been roasted at all. There isn’t a hint of color under the sauce and therefore not enough of a flavor-to-vegetable ratio, which was already struggling.

It has the makings of something much better. The other vegetables were well cooked, but the whole thing is a little big and clunky, which sets it apart from a lot of skillful cooking.

The little minced chicken meatballs come with a deviously fiery sauce that carries smokiness and a sticky sweetness as well as heat. The onion bhaji is just as good and good as any you will have. Rather than individual bites, it’s a vast tangle of red, white and spring onions, punchy spices and a satisfying crunch.

A bowl of excellent eggplant bhaji also brings onions, this time softened with just a hint of bite against the practically melting star of the show.

For its flaws, the cauliflower looked extremely attractive dotted with flowers, and 7 Spice knows exactly what it’s doing when it comes to sprucing things up.

The korma is also in bloom, and that’s exactly what you want a korma to be. The heat is barely there, just a slight nudge against the sweet sauce. The lamb collapses and everything is mopped up with blistered pillows of naan.

The desserts are the standard selection of western options you often get, but although little thought has gone into what they are, they are very different.

The pear and almond tart with pistachio ice cream and the crème brûlée are both extremely solid – in a good way – examples of both.

The restaurant itself is as pretty as the food, and if you don’t have your heart set on a pod, there are far worse places to spend an evening than among the twinkling lights, throw pillows and curtains – and the onion bhaji.

THE LAW PROJECT

Onion Bhaji €5.95

Chicken Bora €6.95

Tree of Life 19,95 €

Lamb korma €15.95

Pilaf rice 2,95 €

Garlic naan bread €2.95

Eggplant Bhaji €5.95

Pear and almond tart 6€

Creme brulee 6€

Cocktails x2 £10

Mocktails x2 £10

Total £89.65