REVIEW: Biddy Farrelly's

I like to think of myself as a man in the know. A "man about town" if you will, au fait with all of the things our wee city has to offer. Then a recommendation comes along and one's careful constructed idea of oneself is left in tatters.

All of that is to say that in this day and age it is not often one gets to experience an actual "hidden gem". Of course, if you know then you know, and you get to point and laugh and those unfortunate enough not to know, but if you don't know... well actually, it's grand because you now get to join the party.

Biddy Farrelly's is quite simply a little gem of a family-run restaurant tucked away on an oft-neglected street in what some might describe as "old Belfast". I say oft-neglected, but I can't recall a time I've been on Gresham Street and it hasn't been pretty populated. Investors may have overlooked it – which it could be argued is a blessing in disguise – but the people certainly haven't.

Home for many years now to one of the city's great bars, the Hudson (let's not dwell of what's occurred there recently), Gresham Street feels like a little world unto itself. Another longtime resident, Loko Skate Supply may have recently closed it's doors after 15 years of trading, but Chris Murray – one of the city's "quiet entrepreneurs" (a phrase I'm claiming for future use) – has just moved into the street taking over the former butchers for his own clothing wares, with some exciting plans to come.

But back to Biddy’s - stepping through the door I’m immediately struck by the how well put together the whole place is. It’s not a massive space, but it is extremely well presented, with the exposed brickwork perfectly complementing the dark wood tables. It feels clean and inviting, a place I’m comfortable spending some time in. And best of all, the staff seem like they’d be perfectly happy for you to sit awhile and enjoy the restaurant they’ve clearly worked very hard to provide you with.

And special mention must be made of Biddy Farrelly’s staff. There are no fake smiles here, no-one seems to be doggedly getting through the day. It’s not just me they greet with warmth and enthusiasm but everyone I see come through the door as the space fills as we inch towards what I suspect is a regular lunchtime rush.

Of course, no restaurant can survive on great staff and lovely decor alone, how’s the food you might be wondering - put simply, it was delicious. Obviously I can’t speak authoritatively about all their offerings, but my selections on the day were perfectly presented, served in great time and without question freshly sourced, cooked and handled with as much care and attention as displayed throughout the restaurant.

Biddy Farrelly’s truly feels like a little hidden gem in a part of the city that, if left to it, will continue to thrive. I’d take just one of these over 10 of your standard chain coffee shop/cafe. It’s one of those place you almost don’t want to share with others - I can be a severe selfish sort and I’d happily keep this all to myself, but that urge is tempered by the fact that I would love to see them thrive, so with that in mind, venture on down to Gresham Street and once you’ve finished coveting the fancy hifi equipment in Richer Sounds, enter the world of Biddy Farrelly’s and let them treat you to some classic, homegrown, hospitality.

Then tell all your friends to do the same. And get them to tell their friends. In Belfast parlance, Biddy Farrelly’s is pure weeker, so it is.

Biddy Farrelly’s can be found at 39 Gresham Street, just a stones throw from Smithfield Market. It’s opens from 9-5 six days a week and can be found online @BiddyFarrellys on FB.

Recent Restaurants Reviews