Hello I’m Grainne McGarvey and welcome to my column which spots local hidden gems from the world of beauty, health, fashion, tourism and hospitality. I will have my ear to the ground (quite literally) to keep you up to date about the new or interesting products and services from our neck of the woods. If you know one – get in touch on twitter @grainnemcgarvey or email email@example.com
It was all white on the night at Shiro launch
I always like a good party and the recent launch night for Shiro didn’t disappoint. The foodies, music lovers, glamarama, rugger buggers, media bods and the Lisburn Road crowd all came together to celebrate its opening on Belfast’s Brunswick Street.
The interior of the building is virtually unrecognisable from that of its dark and dingy former resident, Irene and Nans. Bright, breezy, with a beautiful long bar, eating area and lots of little nooks and crannies –will mean it’s perfect for those who want to pop in for a bite to eat, stand and pose with the girls (or boys!) or enjoy a weekend drink.
We all like to categorize a new venue and in this instance you can definitely see an Asian influence coming through, even the name Shiro means ‘white’ in Japanese . Although I didn’t get a chance to try any of the canapés, I did get a look at the menu – Seared Tuna Club Sandwich caught my eye on the lunch menu and the Black Cod with Miso, Pak Choi and Pickled Mushrooms from the dinner menu does sounds delicious, but the £25.95 price tag seems a bit on the expensive side.
Food aside, there is a lot more to Shiro than just the restaurant – the extensive drinks menu is more than 20 pages long and ranges from the sublime to the ridiculous, well the names do anyway! The Cognac based His Nibs made me laugh and the Bobby Burns and In the Bushes sound painful, but are worth trying.
Without sounding like my mum, there is a discotheque or Late Lounge as Shiro like to call it. It’s planned for the next phase, so not open just yet – but from what I hear it will be worth the wait. In the meantime, the Asahi roof terrace will be a perfect spot to wind down in summer and it doubles up as a comfortable home for smokers, rather than having to go out on the street.
Overall my initial impressions of Shiro are good. It is in a city centre location, granted not in the Cathedral Quarter, but there is still enough buzz from its side of town thanks to the offices, restaurants and tourist spots in the area. Zoe who manages the marketing gets a special mention on account of her loveliness, she also looks after the guest list – give her a shout if you are coming down. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I have heard there have been few issues with people being turned away at the door, but I guess this happens with every new bar finding its feet. A similar thing happened when its sister bar, the Albany opened, and it has gone from strength to strength. In fact, it’s one of my favourite bars in Belfast – maybe because it’s within walking distance of my house!
If this has inspired you to head down his weekend, keep a seat for me. If the launch night was anything to go by, I have feeling it will be a Shiro summer to remember!