Resident foodies, The Gourmet Boys, review Il Pirata restaurant at Ballyhackamore, east Belfast
The phrase “we have an exciting new menu” often makes us slightly apprehensive, especially when referring to the reopening of one of our favourite Ballyhack institutions Il Pirata. But we needn’t have worried. The menu had a comfortable familiarity and many of Il Pirata’s crowd-pleasing dishes and flavour combinations were still there or had been reimagined to create a fresh take on their delicious Italian fare.
To start, we went straight to the cocktail list. The Bitter Passion is a fruity yet sour rum-based concoction and was a very welcome start to the evening, and although a Negroni is no longer on the menu, their mixologist was more than happy to make one for us.
We chose a couple of cichetti to share; pea and saffron arancini on a spicy tomato sauce, and some truffled taleggio tartlets drizzled with rosemary honey, both of which were excellent.
The mains were Casarecce: a creamy vegetarian pasta dish with artichokes, spinach and onion pangratatto, and the flaky, perfectly cooked Hake was accompanied by a wonderful salsa verde packed with seaweed which complimented the fish perfectly.
Ciao, Il Pirata, and see you again very soon.