Tucked away in a back street of Belfast’s vibrant and bustling Cathedral Quarter, The Muddlers Club is a real find. The place is steeped in history as it’s named after the secret society that used to meet there over 200 years ago.
Passageways illustrated with street art lead to an industrial building displaying fairy lights and a welcoming sign.
Its hidden location suggests an air of secrecy and exclusivity, yet The Muddlers Club is friendly and informal. A snooty place it isn’t but make no mistake, the food is top class yet reasonably priced for its exceptional quality.
The cool industrial-style décor, with its muted greys and exposed ducts, is complemented by the warm tones of the wooden floors, tables and chairs. The restaurant is dimly lit with light coming from the large windows, open kitchen, modern chandeliers and flickering candles.
The Muddlers Club offers a small, focused menu with fresh, local ingredients at the forefront. The dishes don’t have names. They are described by their ingredients which makes the presentation a surprise, especially the desserts. The dishes are simple but they’re meticulously prepared. Every single item we ordered was a work of art!
The drinks menu includes internationally sourced wines (Champagne, sparkling, red, white and rosé), beer, stout and fabulous cocktails. I had the Muddlers Bramble with Tanqueray gin, lime juice, blackberry syrup and crème de mûre, with fresh raspberries and blackberries on top and a lime wedge on the side.
Paulo had a G&T with a fantastic gin we discovered on this trip: Shortcross, a craft gin distilled in Northern Ireland with notes of floral meadows, wild berries and green grass.
My starter was a colourful salad with heirloom tomatoes, burrata and peaches, decorated with pea shoots and edible flowers. The accompanying thin slice of bread provided a contrasting texture to the soft, garden-fresh ingredients. However, I was a bit disappointed that the dish didn’t include more cheese. There was so little of it that I couldn’t tell if it was actually burrata as stated on the menu, or in fact, mozzarella. I wanted that super creaminess from the burrata to shine through but I still enjoyed the dish.
Paulo’s starter was a foamy crab bisque with peas and a subtle tomato flavour. A folded sheet of fresh pasta was the crowning glory. A simple, elegant and flavourful dish.
We both ordered the turbot topped with ibérico ham and drizzled with a delicious foam. The courgettes, romanesco, samphire and leafy greens made tasty accompaniments. Two different sauces of contrasting colours were delicately spooned over the plate with the ingredients beautifully arranged over them. This dish was a real feast of flavours.
Two side dishes of perfectly cooked tenderstem broccoli rounded out our main course. We enjoyed the broccoli but given the good amount of veg included in the plate of turbot, we could have done without it or at least shared one side dish between us.
The desserts were listed only by their ingredients and we were asked if we wanted a description before we ordered them, or preferred to be surprised. We went for the unexpected and both dishes were spectacular in terms of presentation and flavours. They were the highlight of our meal and I wholeheartedly recommend leaving room for one of these artistic creations.
I feasted my eyes and palate on a crème fraiche roll and rhubarb sorbet. The plate was adorned with strawberries, meringues, honeycomb, pistachios and edible flowers. A real wow factor here!
Paulo’s dessert consisted of cherry, milk, mocha and marshmallow. It was a decadent combination of creamy textures and rich flavours. I had a bite of the toasted marshmallow and it brought me right back my childhood. I used to pop marshmallows on a branch, toast them over a campfire then enjoy eating the crisp outside and gooey inside.
Paulo finished his meal with an excellent espresso. The sugar crystals on a stick were a nice touch.
Service was flawless and the timing of the dishes was spot on. Everything was impeccably prepared and served at just the right time and temperature.
The Muddlers Club may have a hard-to-find location but it’s definitely been discovered by countless locals and visitors who appreciate fine food, quality ingredients and talented chefs. Reservations strongly recommended!
The owners, managers or staff did not invite me to visit this establishment and were unaware that my experience would be the basis of a written review. It is based on my experience at my own cost and I did not receive compensation for my review.
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