Location: Dundonald Omnipark
Opening hours: Mon – Thurs 4pm-9pm; Fri & Sat 12pm – 10pm & Sun 12pm – 9pm
Our experience: Laser Quest at Dundonald was the ultimate birthday party destination when I was a lad and I loved it. I never ate dinner in it though, but happily, thanks to Loco, located just a stone’s throw away at the Omnipark, I don’t have to tax my imagination too much.
With its blue, neon lighting, post-industrial decor and youthful patrons, the similarity is undeniable.
A new addition, along with Wagamama, to the dining selection at the popular Omnipark, Loco seems ideally set up for post-bowling dinners or weekend treats. While it is a licensed venue, it’s definitely tailored to young families, teens or kids’ parties.
We went on a Saturday night at half seven and waited 10 minutes for a table. Pretty good, considering it was peak time and busy.
Our table was right in the centre of the restaurant and within a minute of being seated, a waitress was over to take our drinks order.
Drinks prices (£3.85 for a bottle of Peroni and £4.50 for a frozen strawberry daiquiri) weren’t bad and the beer was lovely and cold, which makes all the difference.
From our seats, we were able to see across most of the room and take in the decor. Panelled doors hang on chains from the ceiling, snaking ropes partition booths and gaslamp-style lights cast a warm glow on the tables below – well, it is called Loco.
When the waitress returned, we ordered a platter of dough balls and dips to start, which was plenty for two people. The pesto dip and garlic butter were flavourful, but the dough balls were a little under-done.
Out of the 21 pizza selection (not even counting the calzones), we opted for the Philly Cheese Steak and Loco Feast (360 degrees of meat, from at least three animals!).
Both were generously-topped and looked appetising, but neither quite delivered on flavour. I’m not a fan of American mustard, so ordered mine without. That definitely would have given it plenty of punch, but the pizza sauce needed more seasoning (a little bit of salt) and maybe some oregano and the chicken and ground beef pieces, while plentiful, were dry and bland. The caramelised onions dominated Lynsey’s Philly cheese, making it too sweet.
The trademark sourdough base, though, was well-cooked and the right kind of consistency – slightly crispy, but still soft towards the centre.
At 12 inches, the pizzas are enough to satisfy most appetites and the option to bring your leftovers with you is a nice touch.
We were too full for pudding by the end, but the selection did look tempting, particularly the churros with Nutella (not often seen here) and honyecomb cheesecake.
Leaving, we both felt that like my younger self playing laser quest, Loco didn’t quite hit the mark. But then, perhaps we aren’t the target. If you’re purely looking for authentic Italian pizza, maybe somewhere like Little Wing would be a better choice, but if you have kids and want somewhere fun, unusual and with stacks of choice, maybe you should try ‘going Loco’.
Service quality: Enthusiastic and polite
Atmosphere: Top-40 soundtrack and neon lighting makes it feel like a disco/restaurant hybrid
Best bits: Wide range of option on the menu. Lots of promotional deals. Pleasant staff. Offered a box to bring home leftovers
Worst bits: Under-cooked dough balls and lack of flavour in toppings. Difficult to find parking on busy Saturday night. You can’t make reservations
Facebook: Loco Belfast
Rating: 2.5 out of 5
Food hygiene rating: None yet given, newly opened
Price /Special offers (£ – £££££): ££ – We got our main meal for free – but the menu is fairly typically priced – around £11/12 for most pizzas. Some items did seem a bit pricey, like the blooming onion – a tenner for a deep fried onion with one dip?! Monday – kids eat free. Wednesday 2 for 1 pizzas. Friday, £5 lunch offer – small pizza and a drink.
Name: Camile Thai
Our experience: Voted best Thai in Ireland 2015 and 2016 we were excited to see what Camile had to offer. This Thai takeaway chain offers a range of tasty dishes using locally sourced ingredients. Often the word ‘take-away’ conjures up food high in fat and salt but this company was crowned healthiest takeaway in 2014.
Going on the servers’ recommendation (and voted no.1 customer choice) I had the Pad Thai Noodles and Robert chose the Camile Special Noodles. The food came packaged in quirky beautifully designed cartons – like what you would see in the American movies! Both dinners lacked a bit of colour and variety but were tasty using light yet fragrant sauces.
We would recommend giving this place a go, though next time we think we will try a curry or stir fry.
Location: Unit 1, 348 Lisburn Road BT96GH, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Opening hours: Monday to Sunday 12pm to 11pm
Facebook: Camile Thai
Atmosphere: Modern and efficient
Best bits: Cool packaging, efficient and nutritious.
Worst bits: Slightly pricey and difficult to find parking
Service quality: Very friendly and efficient
Rating: 3 out of 5
Food hygiene rating: 5 out of 5 (Dec 2016)