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“Excellent food, comically bad service.”
Review of ART Restaurant - CLOSED

ART Restaurant
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Large groups, Special occasions, Business meetings, Romantic
Dining options: Breakfast, Late Night, Dinner, Lunch, Reservations
Belfast
Level 6 Contributor
101 reviews
67 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 124 helpful votes
“Excellent food, comically bad service.”
Reviewed February 5, 2014

Expectations weren’t particularly high when my partner told me he’d purchased us a 9 course tasting menu at Art. Without wanting to be patronising, these are not the usual dining experiences found in seaside towns but after perusing their website, I was actually quite excited. A menu that changes on availability of local ingredients, organic fruit and veg, homemade preserves and supporting local artists… I started to think this sounded more like a contender for next year’s Michelin Awards.

We made the trip up from Belfast and were greeted by a waiter who asked us “where do yous wanna sit?” which was a bit strange. Before we had our coats off we were asked what we wanted to drink. Alarm bells started ringing. After sitting for 10 minutes, a waitress came over and asked us the same questions we were asked upon entry and we were then told “you’re sitting in the wrong place, you should be at the posh tables” – goodness knows what the other diners thought of them being in presumably the slums.

We duly moved into the window seats where we had to request a wine list. I ordered rioja and the waiter looked at me like I had two heads and suggested I was on the wrong page. I wasn’t. After some time he returned and told me they were running low on red wine (!) and they didn’t have any rioja but the chef had suggested a different red which we accepted.

40 minutes after arriving in the restaurant, we were presented with our first course – spiced parsnip soup. This was the Soup of the Day on the Squiggles board (effectively the same restaurant, in the same room). Why we had to wait 40 minutes for something they had obviously been serving all day was a mystery. I would suggest that they wanted to wait until their other tasting-menu guests who arrived at 7:30 got there to make it easier on the chef which is unacceptable, particularly since the second couple started getting their food before us.

The meat and fish dishes were delicious – confit quail with pearl barley, naturally-smoked coley with lentils and a kind of deconstructed beef bourginion were all wonderful and perfectly suited to the time of year. The granita and sorbet courses became farcical when the spoons we were provided with did not fit into the glasses and we had to use the other end to eat them. The goats cheese and beetroot was very tasty although I’ve eaten a LOT of cheese and it definitely didn’t seem like a goats cheese to me. Plus the spinach had seen better days and had rotted down in places. Dessert was a deconstructed cheesecake, which was fine but to be honest we just wanted to go home by then. We were there for over 3 hours and had to leave before coffee and petit fours, the evening’s good mood ruined.

The restaurant had only another couple of tables occupied and one waiter seemed to be doing all of the work while the others, particularly the girl, stood behind the bar area not doing a great deal. It was also freezing cold. They clearly have a talented chef but they need to invest in some front-of-house staff who have been properly trained and perhaps a restaurant manager to coordinate proceedings. I don’t want to be ageist but you can’t expect 3 kids to run any kind of decent restaurant.

  • Visited January 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank rubyglittershoes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

155 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    95
    16
    8
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    21
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Newtownards
Level 3 Contributor
23 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Squiggles was !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
Reviewed February 1, 2014

The restaurant was cold, I was sitting at a radiator which I turned on, to little effect, it was barely warm on a very cold January night. Service was ok except for the fact that a couple who came in after us had their order taken first but, our meal came out first!! We were there on the Groupon deal for a steak dinner with sides and a glass of wine, which was meager but quite good. However, when our food finally arrived our steak was almost cold and my champ was a slightly beige colour so I sent my meal back. I had ordered my steak cooked rare and when it came back to me it had been microwaved and was now very overcooked and the champ was scalding hot, My partner was so hungry that ate his right away, cold as it was. The one positive thing I can say is that the steak was a lovely flavour, if not cooked to my liking.

I have to add that the couple who came in after us were on the same deal and they got cold food also, which they sent back!! You would think a restaurant trying to establish itself would be making a big effort to impress, not this one it seems!! I am not surprised that on a Friday night this restaurant was almost empty, in fact Art, the restaurant upstairs, was completely empty, now what does that tell you!

  • Visited January 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank scokie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“A joke that had us in stitches of laughter!!”
Reviewed January 30, 2014 via mobile

After seeing that "Art" (Squiggles) has another Groupon for sale, I am compelled to write a review from 2nd November- mine and my husbands wedding anniversary. Only that we were bought the apparently £150 worth of groupon voucher as a gift is the only reason I didn't blow a fuse in this place. Service was hilariously terrible and food to match. Enjoy watching your "chewbacca" (or ciabatta as the rest of the world calls it) bread being poked by your server as he plonks it on your plate... enjoy 5 of the 7 courses without cutlery, enjoy pork so overcooked it can be used as a weapon (but the waiter explained thats how the chef likes to cook it- no blood nor nothin). Topped off with a baby sick textured pumpkin pie ("the chef can be a bit hit or miss" we were reliably informed by our Basil Falwty server). Wine measures were miniscule.nn need I really continue....???
£20 for the whole experience we had would be more apt- only for the comedy we witnessed- NOT for the food or service we received.
Very surprised to see this place still lives on, as every time I pass it, the shutters are down. Also worth a pizza across the road to hear more hilarious stories retold by the staff there...

Helpful?
Thank Nicky M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Belfast, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
19 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Give Art A Chance!”
Reviewed January 25, 2014

My husband and I dined in Art last night on an internet offer for the 7 course taster menu and were pleasantly surprised by the whole experience considering all the bad press it has been getting on Trip Advisor.

The staff are indeed very young, but very courteous and helpful. The chef also called me during the day to check for any food allergies etc while she was planning the evening's taster menu - she probably wished she had not bothered as I ended up giving her a long list of dietary requirements, but she was very accomodating and my food was prepared as I had requested.

The dishes themselves were very tasty and considerable thought had been put into them to create a well-balanced meal using seasonal ingredients. My only criticism would be that the fish and beef were cooked slightly more than I would have liked, but the flavours were good - spiced lentils and chutney with the smoked coley was delicious and the sauce / jus with the "deconstructed" beef bourgignon was excellent. All in all good value for the ammount we paid on the offer.

While Art is definetely not in the same league as the two top fine-dining restaurants in Bangor, there is indeed potential and if there were a few more customers to create atmosphere it would be a big help.

  • Visited January 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank kazzahewitt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bangor
Level 3 Contributor
18 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Not hard to please, but.............”
Reviewed January 4, 2014

I'm not sure how this restaurant (Squiggles) is staying open, other than the internet deals which reel you in. We had heard bad reports but my wife was curious. We arrived to an empty restaurant so wanted to look out of the window. We were told it was cold but it was very cold. The table was shabby with crumbs still on the table. The food was poor and small quantities (not what you want to provide if trying to impress customers - even on an internet deal).......Will not be back

  • Visited December 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank BYO_MANBangor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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