REVIEW: Cutters Wharf

Nostalgia and reminiscing are constant distractions to gentlemen of a certain age. We gaze back straining against the haze of our own setting sun with 'rose-coloured' lenses to perceived better days. So, when my wife suggested going out for something to eat at Cutters Wharf Belfast I wasn't too sure.

Cutters, or 'The Boat Club' as I remembered it, was not so much somewhere to eat but rather a party destination for my friends and I. Discos and late nights, kebabs and long walks home were the memories I had of Cutters and although these memories were held as fond, returning for a meal wasn't doing it for me. Then she offered to pay, and I was all in.

If you've never been, Cutters Wharf is easily found. Take the Lockview Road exit off the round-a-bout outside Stranmillis College, 30 seconds later and you're there. Plenty of parking is available on the left just past the entrance.

We arrived just at that warm glowing part of the evening and to be honest I was tempted to take a walk along the Lagan towpath. What a wonderful setting.

The restaurant is upstairs and when we walked in I was stunned. Fantastic large windows along the Lagan side of the building with trees just outside framing each scene. It gave the impression you had just walked out onto a veranda.

Megan, our server for the night, sat us beside one of these scenes and once we were settled took the drinks order, I must say at this point that she looked after us the whole evening. It takes great service as well as great food and if Megan's attentions were anything to go by we were in for a great night.

The restaurant is wonderfully modern with simple clear spaces, pristine table linen and so comfortably roomy. I loved it. So often restaurants try to optimise the floor space for maximum covers which can easily make diners feel uneasy. Not Cutters, it was elegant and the late spring light made for a great atmosphere.

The menu looked great. For starters we went for Salt & Pepper Squid with Teriyaki dipping sauce and Confit Duck Leg with home made red onion and chilli marmalade.

Salt and peppered squid has recently become a favourite of my wife's and she wasn't disappointed. It was seasoned so well and the cooking of the squid was right on point. The addition of the heavenly mirin-ginger laden Teriyaki dip brought a tang that was the perfect foil for the sweet squid. I had the duck leg and I was so glad I did. The rich sweet dark duck meat was skilfully veiled behind a coating of golden sticky warm red onion chilli greatness. I can't recommend this starter enough. You have tasted all these flavours before but never like this. It was a marvellously clever cooking combination and the star of my evening.

Freshly Battered Cod with mushy peas, Tartar Sauce and a 10oz Sirloin Steak with Whiskey and Peppercorn sauce were the mains we chose, both with a side of hand cut chips. Velvety succulent cod encased in crisp batter, well, there is nothing like it and I am telling you the truth no one does 'posh' fish and chips like Cutters Wharf. This is nothing like your best 'chippie' past, present or future, this was so clean and light and again seasoned well.

I asked for my steak medium rare which for me is the correct way to eat steak, but not all get it right. When the steak arrived it was exactly what I asked for. Hats off to the Chef.
The combination of the steak, Portobello mushroom and the tomato was so good. Yes traditional, yes it has been done before but this means there is no where to hide and the Chef has no reason to hide here, it was perfect. The steak cut easily and dissolved in the mouth. Again, the whiskey and peppercorn sauce were what I'd hoped for, it clung to the steak and chips .

There are many places to get well cooked steak in Belfast but not many that could out do Cutters.
Dessert is a ritual that I have become accustom to now. Basically, she chooses what she wants to have and then chooses what she wants to share. Pecan Pie and Sticky Toffee pudding. Both dishes finished off a wonderful evening.
I highly recommend a visit to Cutters Wharf. I noticed on the way out that they have produced a 'Graduation Menu' three courses for twenty-four pounds per person. If you have some loved ones or friends graduating this year, pass the word on, the food and setting would be perfect for a graduation lunch. Be warned though, such is the standard of Cutters Wharf you will need to get in early to avoid disappointment.
All told I was so glad I convinced the wife to come out to Cutter's this evening, at least that's how I remember it.

Paul McMath

Cutters Wharf Belfast can be found on the edge of the Lagan off the Lockview Road from Stranmillis. Find them online at and keep up-to-date Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.

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