Restaurant Profile March 2018: Buba Belfast
Andrea O’Neill, co-owner with her husband tony, talks to HRNI
WHEN DID YOUR RESTAURANT OPEN?
Buba opened for business on January 25. The food we serve is inspired and influenced by the rich flavours of the modern day Eastern Mediterranean, Middle East and North Africa. There is no doubt that Belfast offers a superb range of top quality restaurants producing fantastic cuisine. We feel Buba fills a gap in the market for this type of cuisine and it will be a unique and tasty addition to the rich mix.
TELL US ABOUT THE SPACE
A warm, vibrant colour palate of burnt orange, teal and copper sets the tone. Seating is a mix of comfortable and plush banquette seating around the perimeter with large central tables perfect for large parties or for getting to know your dining companions that little bit better. You can also dine right in front of the kitchen pass on high stools, the perfect seat to watch the chefs at play, barbecuing on their favourite new toy, the charcoal Green Egg, which scents the air of the restaurant with the smoky fragrance of grilled spiced lamb, monkfish skewers and our Picanha steak. Heating, music and lighting has also been well thought out with funky playlists and even funkier lighting with neon Buba graphics adorning the wall beside the bar and an impressive centre piece of 20 multi coloured origami paper lanterns which give the interior that wow factor.
WHAT’S ON YOUR MENU?
The inspiration for the menu is the rich flavours of modern day Eastern Mediterranean, Middle East and North Africa. It is comprised of lots of small plate dishes, designed to share and to give you a sample of all of the rich culinary traditions, exotic produce, flavoursome spices and cooking techniques this region is known for.
DOES YOUR MENU CHANGE OFTEN?
We will change the menu seasonally to make the most of the highest quality ingredients available. Although already, after only a couple of weeks, we can see firm favourites such as our spicy lamb and halloumi fries, which we know will be staple dishes on our menus all year round.
Alongside our menu, we offer interesting, vibrant specials which our chefs love to create, working closely with our bar staff who create complementary cocktails to complete your dining experience.
WHAT IS YOUR FOOD SOURCING POLICY?
Locality is key in sourcing our main ingredients; for example, all of our meat comes from Hannan Meats in Moira. Obviously, we have to look a bit further afield for our spices!
HAVE YOU FACED ANY PARTICULAR CHALLENGES TO DATE?
As with all new restaurant openings, there have been challenges, but thankfully they were minimal and we experienced a very smooth opening. Recruiting high quality staff is always a challenge but we are delighted to have a great team so far, made up from both new staff members and those trained through the ranks in our sister restaurant Coppi.
HOW DO YOU MAKE YOUR RESTAURANT STAND OUT FROM COMPETITORS?
We have introduced something different for Belfast, a unique take on flavours which is part of the reason we have been so popular since opening. As with Coppi, we know there is a demand for restaurants which serve food later in the evening so we have based our Buba model around evening dining, serving food from 4pm each day, right up until midnight at the weekends. We have also dedicated half of our menu to vegan dishes which has proved popular.
Tel: 028 95680162
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