Close to the grand gothic buildings of Queen’s University, this relaxed restaurant is housed in the converted Victorian stables and courtyard of College Green House. Inside, this makes for a calming, high-ceilinged space done out in muted, washed-out tones of green and off-white; outside is a small terrace for alfresco dining in nice weather.
The kitchen places an emphasis on using local ingredients and traditional Irish recipes. Seared king scallops come with crispy black pudding, Jerusalem artichokes and almond praline, while balls of pearl barley are stuffed with smoked gubeen cheese, spinach and mushroom.
Follow, perhaps, with Tyrone lamb or Fermanagh chicken, the former served with celeriac fondant, sautéed cabbage and carrot purée, the latter stuffed with Kylemore Cheddar and wrapped in prosciutto and plated up with spinach, cauliflower, potato rosti and thyme jus.
There’s a fish of the day or else roast skin-on fillet of cod with caper butter, saffron fondants, braised leeks and chilli jam. If you’d prefer something less European, there might be a couple of Asian-accented dishes along the lines of confit duck leg with Thai red cabbage, slaw and pomegranate jam or Thai-style organic veg curry, basmati rice and spicy soda farl flatbread.
Desserts are a more expected line-up of sweet-toothed favourites: Belgian chocolate brownie with dark chocolate ice cream, sticky toffee pudding with warm toffee sauce, an ice-cream sundae loaded with cranberry biscotti, caramelised orange and honeycomb or else an all-Irish cheeseboard for something savoury.
Vegan and vegetarian options are no less varied while prices are reasonable, with all starters under a tenner and only a splashy rib-eye steak with whiskey pepper sauce and garlic and truffle chips clocking in for over £20.
Molly’s Yard is open for all-day dining from midday (though closed on Sundays), with a ‘5-10-5’ menu to tempt afternoon eating, when starters and puds cost £5 and main courses are £10. Tasting nights (whiskey, gin) and beer and food matching dinners broaden Molly’s considerable appeal still further.