Review: The new Collina cafe and bar at the Four Winds, Belfast

Review by Lynne:  www.eatingideas.com

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The Four Winds has played a large part in my past.  I remember as a child, watching my mum and dad don their best outfits for a big night out there with friends and as I got older, it became a favourite local location for my friends and I.Over the years, it has been through many many changes.  When I was a kid, it was much smaller with a public bar on the ground floor and a restaurant on the first floor.  More recently, it was completely relaunched with a wine bar, sports bar and a first floor glass fronted grill restaurant with views over the city.  When I heard about the new Collina Cafe Bar, I was obviously keen to take a look.

My friend Clare and I met there for a pre-theatre bite to eat and as we arrived it was strangely comforting to be somewhere that was so familiar and yet so different.  The new focus is clearly on top quality coffees, Italian wines and continentally inspired dishes and small plates.  There was plenty to choose from on the menu but as we were under time constraints, we opted to have a main course each that we would split.

I chose the Collina Beef Assado (£13.00) and Clare opted for the Salt & Chilli chicken burger (£11.00).  I have to say that the staff were very helpful, even bringing us an extra plate to facilitate our sharing of the dishes.  The beef was melt in the mouth tender with rosemary salted fries, mixed leaves and a choice of sauce.  We opted for the creamy mushroom sauce after dithering over Béarnaise, gravy or a flavoured butters.    The Salt & Chilli Chicken burger was served in a Brioche bun with garlic alioli and rosemary fries.  Chicken burgers can be a bit hit or miss but this was delightful with a spicy, crispy coating.  We loved both dishes but agreed that despite the top quality of the beef, the spicy chicken burger may have just had the edge.

I was impressed by the bright and airy decor, the warm welcome of the staff and the quality of the food.  If anything, I was also slightly relieved that this stalwart venue in my life did not let me down!  Having rediscovered the joy of the Four Winds and the new Collina Cafe Bar, I will definitely be back and might take some pals from my youth with me

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