NB: This has been reposted from my previous blog here.
Mourne Seafood comes highly recommended by so many people, and I joined the crowd when I visited it for the first time last October. Each of our party ordered a starter, main and dessert; the food was absolutely delicious and came up to just £26 per person.
Most of our spread, from top left: Seabass with chorizo; queen scalloprs with pumpkin risotto; crab linguine; salmon cakes; sticky data pudding; peel-and-eat langoustines; seabass with citrus dressing
It was thus with excitement that I headed there again last weekend, ready to indulge in another round of good seafood – and I’m disappointed to say that I wasn’t as lucky this time.
I started with the pan-fried crab claws with chilli butter (£7). Still having vivid memories of the Dirty Duck’s unbeatable crab claws, I wondered if I’ll have a similar experience at Mourne Seafood. Unfortunately, the crab claws served did not come cleanly off the ‘bone’, and had a mushy texture associated with slightly overcooked and less-than-fresh crab meat. The dish was also somewhat bland, with barely a trace of chilli or butter.
Quality aside, the crab claws came in a good value for money portion, although the winner for this category has to be the Mourne Mussels. The medium pot (£6.75) is massive and is guaranteed to fill you up – although the white wine, garlic and cream sauce was described as (and verified to be) rather salty.
Fuelled by the moreish queen scallops and pumpkin risotto we had on our first visit, I went for the seared scallops and linguine in saffron cream sauce (£17) this time. Sadly, my immediate thought upon seeing the dish was “My, that’s a heap of pasta”, and the scallops weren’t as plentiful. The sauce was also a tad too eggy even for an egg lover like me, although there were just enough chopped tomatoes and wilted greens for me to eat it all (I was hungry).
Look at this risotto – chock full of scallops and mussels all over its top – and tell me that the scallop linguine doesn’t look sad in comparison! If i recall correctly the risotto was about £17 too.
Thankfully, the delicious sticky date pudding (£5.25) I had previously was just as good the second time. Served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and drenched in fudge sauce, it was warm and moist, with finely shredded flesh of dates mixed evenly throughout the pudding.
Despite the somewhat disappointing second experience, Mourne Seafood is a place I’d eat at again. Our flawless first visit and its stellar reputation could not have come by chance, and its specials menu guarantees that you’ll never eat the same dish twice unless you want to. While dinner at Mourne Seafood always takes a while (at least 2 hrs for 3 courses), its service is impeccable and doesn’t feel slow. I’m just hoping that it’ll be third time lucky so that I can gush about it again.
34- 36 Bank Street
Belfast, BT1 1HL
Tel: 028 9024 8544