Chef Michael Deane is regularly cited as Belfast’s most notable restauranteur and has held a Michelin Star for 12 years, the longest ever in Ireland. Years ago he found himself working around the stove at London’s famed Dorchester Hotel and today is given credit for revolutionizing the eat out scene in Northern Ireland’s capital. Deane runs a tight ship, employing over 100 staff at seven restaurants, each one of whom takes responsibility for providing the best local food, cooking with flair and imagination.
On my second evening in Belfast I had the pleasure of dining at Deanes flagship on Howard Street. The massive restaurant is separated into three distinct spaces: haute cuisine prix fixe at Eipic, champagne and ocean friendly Love Fish and succulent steakhouse at Meat Locker.
I was seated in front of a window which overlooks the Meat Locker’s asador grill where some of the city’s top steaks are grilled to perfection on the daily. The chef himself was prancing about the dining room that evening attending to his guests and offered me a quick tour of the space. Most tempting is his fromage cart which stands lovingly in the centre of the Meat Locker dining room. One requires a significant amount of restraint when sauntering past such a fantastic homage to quality cheese.
Just as I was returning back to my table a large group dressed in high heels and dapper suits whisked themselves up to the restaurants private dining room located on the second floor. Deane noted that the restaurant was hosting a special Dine Around Deanes that evening, a unique opportunity to sample the delights of each of Deanes restaurants via double decker bus tour. I relished in the progressive idea and wondered what restaurants in Toronto could take note (wink wink Oliver & Bonacini).
After running my finger down the Meat Locker menu I noted a few selections to my waiter. Moments later Deane popped by to let me know he was preparing a few of his favourite dishes from Eipic for me to sample. I was very pleased to enjoy a parade of plates from not one, but two kitchens that evening. In an attempt to force a wave of relaxation upon myself I ordered an Emerald Isle inspired Green Spot Manhattan which I sipped while nibbling through a rich and creamy foie gras parfait.
Next up an epic duo featured salted beef with watercress and petite radish and hake paired with crab and sweet carrots. A creamy wild mushroom risotto was a perfect segue before conquering the Hannan 35 Day Himalayan Salt Aged Beef Fillet which was adorned with beef dripping chips, roasted tomato, fried oyster mushroom, buttermilk onion rings and stilton cream. After an unforgettable marathon of a feast I was ecstatic to cross the sweet-finish line via Black Forest Ice Cream Sundae. While I never had the stomach to sample Deane’s favourite cheeses that evening I couldn’t’ help but smile down at the ripe brie and crumbling blue which seemed to be waving at me as I made my exit.
Green Spot Manhattan
ribera del duero, spain
Foie Gras Parfait
apple chutney, sourdough
Wild Mushroom Risotto
Hannan’s 35 Day Himalayan Salt Aged Beef Fillet
dripping chips, roasted tomato, fried oyster mushroom, buttermilk onion rings, stilton cream
Black Forest Ice Cream Sundae
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