Twilight market 

Twilight Market scoops Tourism Innovation AwardBelfast’s first ever Twilight Market has picked up the Tourism Innovation Award at the Northern Ireland Tourism Awards 2016.
The pilot event, in November 2015, saw St George’s Market transformed into a bustling bazaar showcasing the best of the city’s food and drink scene.
The market beat off stiff competition from Rockin’ Boat Trips (Causeway Sea Fishing Company) and We Are Vertigo to scoop the prize at last night’s awards ceremony in Derry/Londonderry, organised by Tourism Northern Ireland.

The award win comes in the same week that St George’s hosted its second Twilight Market. The event was extended over two nights and welcomed over 18,000 people through its doors for chef demonstrations, live music, family activities and delicious culinary treats from local producers.


Twilight market at St Georges


Just come back from a whistle stop tour of the Twilight Market.It was fantastic. Got it at right time, it too busy and no queues!!!! I was with my 7 and 4 year old girls and all they wanted was fudge, cake, popcorn, ice cream and now!! Luckily there was lots of choice. It’s really great for a night out for adults- you can eat, drink, shop and get entertained. The usual suspects from the weekend markets were there plus others like Yardbird, Coppi to name but a few!! I wish there were more Twilight markets throughout the year……..

Egypt in Belfast


A group of us had a feast of Egyptian/Middle Eastern food at Sophia this evening. The venue was Sophia (ex Ben Brasil and Ruba Spice). The menu was a mixed starter of stuffed vine leaves, falafel, Baba ganoush, humous, mayo, salad and cheese samosa with flat bread. 
There was then a couple of exotic belly dances before an amazing main course platter of grilled chicken and aubergines on a bed of rice and vermicelli,salad and stuffed peppers. The others had some beef sheesh kebab. The food was fantastic, the whole style of sharing really made the evening…. shame I had to leave to go pick up the kids!!!! Missed the dessert and Shisha!!

Defo will be back to sample more authentic Egyptian cuisine.

Mix and mingle at the Europa


Just been to a fab bloggers get together at The Europa Hotel Piano Bar Restaurant. The evening was arranged by The Hastings Group and Duffey Rafferty Communications and aptly named Mix and Mingle. 

Julie Hastings welcomed us all and then we were treated to a masterclass in cocktail making by the master mixologist Patrick. Patrick has won many a cocktail prize and has been with The Hastings Group for over 40 years!!!! 

There was also a lovely selection of canapés including chicken tikka mouse in egg shells, salmon on wheaten, basil quiches and blue cheese on toast.

Patrick served up three cocktails namely Europa Champagne Cocktail, French Martini and the Irish Smile. The Irish smile being the nicest. Then we were invited up to make our own and compete for the best cocktail. 
The two joint winners were Stephanie who made a Cosmo and myself who made the Calypso King. All being well the Europa will have this on their cocktail menu!!

This was a great evening, meeting like minded bloggers in a wonderful surrounding. The icing on the cake was the tombola- we all chose one of the legendary ducks which corresponded to a super Hastings Group prize……. I shall certainly enjoy mine… Thanks for organising the evening and thanks to new found friends!!

Dobbins Carrick


I had the Privelege of joining Derek and his wife and daughter Kirsty at the launch of the opening of the Landings restaurant in The Dobbins Inn this evening. 

Derek and family have been at the helm since 1978 and have treated it as one of the family. After gaining valuable experience in Ashford Castle Hotel where JFK stayed, then Fitzwilliam in Dublin, Kirsty joined Dobbins in 2010 and brought it into the cyber age!! 

The evening consisted of a drinks reception, speeches, music from a traditional Irish band,a brief history of Dobbins by Kragfergus Living History Group, nibbles and a tour of the hotel,then it was back to the newly renovated restaurant for more “craic”. 

We never saw old Maud who resided in room 21……..would you stay in the haunted room?!?!

Twilight market


St George’s Market’s Twilight event is back by popular demand
Twilight Market is set to make a return to St George’s Market next Tuesday, 24 May and Wednesday, 25 May.
In response to the success of the first Twilight Market last November, Belfast City Council has decided to extend the free event over two nights, allowing visitors more time to enjoy sample delicious food from Belfast’s thriving food sector and get in the mood for summer. As well as a wide selection of local pop-up restaurants and local food producers, there will also be a range of chef demonstrations, live music and DJs.
Lord Mayor, Councillor Arder Carson said: “We were delighted with the response to our first Twilight Market. Indeed, it was so successful, Twilight Market has been shortlisted for a Northern Ireland Tourism award.
“But we’re not resting on our laurels. Next week, we’ve got even more foodie traders exhibiting, we’ve got some of our best local craftspeople and we’ve got top chefs giving us inspiring cookery demonstrations”.
There’s also an opportunity on Wednesday, 25 May from 2pm-4pm for families who would like to bring their little ones along at a quieter time, with face painting and fun chocolate workshop from Aunt Sandra’s Candy Factory.
The Twilight Market will be open on Tuesday, 24 May from 5pm to 11pm and on Wednesday, 25 May from 12 noon to 11pm.
For further information on traders at the Twilight Market, entertainment and cookery demonstrations, visit<>

Victoria Square Food,Ulster Rugby


What have the Ulster Rugby players and food festival have in common?
They were both at Victoria Square in Belfast today. The Ulster and Irish players Jared Payne, Rory Best and Ian Henderson were at the Grand opening of the Flagship Lifestyle Sports Store in Victoria Square. All three are Ulster and Irish players, Rory being captain of both, Jared hailing from New Zealand and Ian aged 23 all took time out to answer questions before getting ready for big Pro 12 semi final next week…..Good luck guys!!!!

The food festival was on the lower ground floor and made of two sections. The first comprised of mini stalls serving up samples of pickles, preserves and sauces. My favourites here was the Habanero Steves gourmet chilli jams, which did jams in increasing strengths and hot sauces (I got the Venom one and am looking forward to it!!) and Ruby’s Pickles.

The second was a mini “Michellin Man Tent City” which had eateries from Vic Sq serving up samples off their menu. 

The first stop was Yo Sushi for a range of delicious Sushi (salmon,mackerel,tuna,crab and prawn), chicken and Gyoza as well as desserts. Chef Ryan was doing Sushi making classes but I missed them!!

Still in the Orient it was the turn of Wagamama to produce up Gyoza, chicken, fresh fruit juice and sake (rice wine). For the very exotic experience of surf and colour,the Hawai’in Ku ‘Aina served up chicken teriyaki and craft beers. 

TGI Fridays were sampling cocktails and for the tea total folk Starbucks had coffee and cookies. Finally the global Cosmo plated up ribs, prawn toast, prawn crackers, chilli chicken and Spring rolls.

There’s a great buzz about the place and fantastic atmosphere. I certainly ate “around the world” and you can do today and tomorrow. There are some great offers to be had in the restaurants taking part. 

Launch of belfast city blues festival


The launch of the 8th Belfast City Blues Festival took place today at the Ramada Encore in Belfast. It’s the brainchild of Seamus O’Neill and this year is supported by Bushmills, American Holidays, BCC, Sunday World, Ramada Encore and Lagan Boat Company with Michelle McTerney Management. There was copious tea coffee, Bushmills, bacon sarnies and pastries to help welcome us all!!

Jim McDowell was the MC in his own unique style!! He introduced Deputy Lord Mayor Gary Spence (DUP and 24 years young!!!!) who said that Belfast will host one festival per week for the summer and that the funding given to culture was £1.5 million… well spent. 

Patrick Morgan (Sales) from Bushmills was very happy to collaborate with the festival and introduced the Bushmills Festival Marquee at Writers Square. 

American Holidays was well represented with Karen telling us that there has been a strong relationship between Belfast and the Deep South. This is the third year they are supporting the festival and the first that they are sponsoring the Motown Sensations at St Georges on the Saturday. By the way it’s the 25th anniversary of Anericsn Holidsys in Belfast…..happy birthday.

The main man Seamus then thanked us all and said that 95% of festival performers are from Belfast and that he’s secured Johnny Max Band from Toronto. He also bigged up all the bar staff and punters and wants everyone to come and enjoy!!!
Playing us out was the singer Lee Hedley and the delightful Amanda St John. 

The music is set, the venues are raring to go, lots of great food and drink, excellent marquee, the best people in the world…..all we need is the weather!!!!!

Bus Lunch music


What a fab way to spend lunch. We had the pleasure of listening to live tracks from @TheLogues new album “Coming of Age”. They play @DalriadaFest .The lunch was by The Fatted Calf Ltd (Tea Room Glenarm Castle) and included smoked salmon bites, mini beef burgers, goats cheese tartlets, sausage/chorizo rolls and a varied array of sandwiches.Our transport was on the @tourbelfast which circled around Belfast City Centre. 

The Logues were fab, buy their cd and watch them up at Dalriada. This was a fab lunch hour!!!! Big thanx to Michelle from Michelle McTernan Management.

Kua ‘Aina 


Aloha!! To celebrate my birthday last night, my two daughters, wife and I went to Kua ‘Aina in Victoria Square Belfast. Kua ‘Aina opened in November last year and is another welcome eatery in Belfast. 
It was the brainchild of Terry Thompson who opened the first restaurant on Hawaii’s North Shore in 1975. It’s famous for its lava rock char-grilled burgers and sandwiches, accompanied by homemade sauces and divine milk shakes. 
Kua ‘Aina means back country and is a favourite of Barack Obama. The Belfast restaurant is the third in the UK. 
On arrival the restaurant looked like a typical Waikiki Beach restaurant along with surf board. It’s primarily a diner type restaurant which serves various burgers/sandwiches, sides, sauces, craft beers, shakes, soft drinks, desserts and breakfasts!!!
We were greeted by Derek who seated us and brought the girls colouring in pencils,paper and menus-I must say it is very children friendly. Whilst we waited for our milkshakes (coconut for me served in a classic glass milk bottle and small bowls of banana shakes for the girls) Derek brought us over multi coloured nachos and salsa.

We ordered kids Mahi Mahi fish fingers and fries and Chicken strips with sweet corn and fries. My wife had a halloumi and roasted pepper sandwich and I had a triple decker sandwich of Teriyaki chicken, bacon, lettuce and tomato in poppy seeded bread. To accompany this we had sweet potato fries, homemade slaw, onion rings and mayo. As a birthday surprise I was presented with a lovely chocolate brownie and ice cream.

Now the nachos were warm and crisp and salsa was great. The shakes were fab-having mine served in a classic glass milk bottle was very nostalgic! The girls loved their fish fingers, fries, chicken and sweet corn. My wife really enjoyed the Halloumi and pepper sandwich and my sandwich was amazing. The best part was that you could actually taste the authentic flavour of the charring, giving that super taste of original char grilled Bbq. The slaw was crunchy and not too creamy and the onion rings were thick and juicy. The fries and sweet potato fries were nice and soft. Then the brownie was sweet, melt in mouth and warm…mmmm!!!
Suffice to say this was a mountain of food and we did have to pack and take home-guess lunch is sorted!! Presentation,service and overall ambience was second to none. This is a great place for an alternative type of burger/sandwich diner. Thank you so much to the team (Ciaran the manager and Derek).