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Niall Mckenna is doing some really interesting stuff at James Street South, which is also a lovely room. My interview with him appears in the next edition of Restaurant magazine.

The interview actually appears in the issue published today.

It'd be great to be able to find anywhere over here that actually sells Restaurant Magazine.

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Niall Mckenna is doing some really interesting stuff at James Street South, which is also a lovely room. My interview with him appears in the next edition of Restaurant magazine.

The interview actually appears in the issue published today.

It'd be great to be able to find anywhere over here that actually sells Restaurant Magazine.

I'm sure WH Smiths will have it, or you could subscribe. Maybe Niall will let you have a look at his copy.

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Niall Mckenna is doing some really interesting stuff at James Street South, which is also a lovely room. My interview with him appears in the next edition of Restaurant magazine.

The interview actually appears in the issue published today.

It'd be great to be able to find anywhere over here that actually sells Restaurant Magazine.

I'm sure WH Smiths will have it, or you could subscribe. Maybe Niall will let you have a look at his copy.

I don't rate it as a magazine, it's all style and no substance. Fur coat, with no knickers, so to speak.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi

I have in eaten in Cayenne a couple of times and had excellent food. I also enjoyed lunch at Deane's Brasserie and in some wine bar in a back street that I cannot remember the name of. However will avoid The Appartment in future...too many chances, far too many disappointmets.

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Hi

I have in eaten in Cayenne a couple of times and had excellent food.  I also enjoyed lunch at Deane's Brasserie and in some wine bar in a back street that I cannot remember the name of.  However will avoid The Appartment in future...too many chances, far too many disappointmets.

The Apartment's hardly a 'destination' restaurant! Hen nights, students, Matalan-suited married businessmen on the pull for a bit of young 'skirt', Bacardi breezer drinking teens munching on BBQ chicken wings and curly fries. Quality.

You should try Printers Cafe. Daily changing menu and all made in house. It's my secret find in Belfast. So secret that it's not even in the phone book and our good friends at 118 118 haven't even got it listed.

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The Apartment does have a great view of the magnificent City Hall however and its quite a nice place to watch the world go by over a pint or two. If you can get served that is.

Can't argue with you there, I'd just avoid it at night and especially at the weekends. I'd still rather drink in one of the booths in the Crown on Great Victoria Street. That's what I call a real pub.

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  • 9 months later...

Doing a bit of work in Belfast at the moment and there's a bit of a buzz about this place that's due to open in April. Bit more about it here. It's planning on giving the likes of Malmaison and Ten Square a bit of a wake up call as it's going to go to the trouble of training its staff (unlike the former Hotels who never bothered)

I managed to blag a look at what will be the main dining room, which seems to have taken some of its styling from the Wolseley. There's a rather well known Chef on the sidelines ready to take on the mantle, too...

Watch this space.

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I understand cath gradwell from aldens will be cooking, Hardly a big name. I've had three terrible meals there in the last two months.

With the iminent michelin guide, predictions for the country look dire to say the least.With Robbie millar gone and barry smith's new place,I can safely assume only one star in the country. And it only opens four services a week....

Edited by nicook (log)
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I didn't actually say Cath Gradwell was a 'big name' The actual expression I used was 'well known' which she is.

I've also had some hit and misses at Aldens over the years and on my last visit my hubby almost came to blows with their restaurant manager over a remark he made under his breath (but heard by both of us) that was aimed at me and rather offensive.

Belfast's restaurant scene has moved on slightly over the years, but not much. Until the little boys cut their apron strings to their mothers, get out of the country and learn what's going on in the real world, then come back all fired up with knowledge, it'll just continue to stagnate. A real shame, but a fact nonetheless.

On a lighter note, what was Shanks and is now 'MORE' seems to be gradually picking up and although the food is a far cry from what was on offer in the Millar's days it seems to be doing what it set out to do very well. Simple and unpretentious food and value for money prices. Still a bit formal out front as very little has been changed since Shanks closed (decor wise) but if they hit the golfers' market, as they plan to, it should do very well. It is a bit odd being back there and not seeing Robbie and Shirley, though. Very sad.

Edited by Emma M (log)
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Yeah, Emma I do agree with you. But What normally happens is that when these Young cooks move away, they stay away- With three notable exceptions, Niall at james street south, Brian at Shu and Derick at Deanes.

As For More, Fair play to jason for taking the room on, And I'm glad he's doing well.

Have you tried Molly's yard, Barry smith's new place?

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Yeah, Emma I do agree with you. But What normally happens is that when these Young cooks move away, they stay away- With three notable exceptions, Niall at james street south, Brian at Shu and Derick at Deanes.

As For More, Fair play to jason for taking the room on, And I'm glad he's doing well.

Have you tried Molly's yard, Barry smith's new place?

And I don't blame them for staying away! They'll undoubtedly learn more away from home than they'll learn here. And they'll earn a heap more cash doing so. As for Barry, has Oriel now closed as it was on the market? Where exactly is Molly's Yard?

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Where exactly is Molly's Yard?

At the top (Queen's University) end of Botanic Avenue, sandwiched between Duke's Hotel and the Theological College.

Very pleasant place - nothing outstanding - but would certainly recommend ewe pop ewer head in. And good value too.

Edited by the queneau (log)

irony doesn't mean "kinda like iron".

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  • 10 months later...

I'm off to belfast for one night next week and need recommendations on where to eat dinner on saturday and also a couple of good brunchy places for sat and sunday - any ideas?

"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

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I haven't been myself but Mourne Seafood Bar might be worth a look. Head chef and partner in the business is Andy Rea, Paul Rankin's ex-executive chef and a bloody good cook.

looks great but my friend is severely shellfish allergic so she would probably kill me!! :blink:

"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

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looks great but my friend is severely shellfish allergic so she would probably kill me!! :blink:

Ah she's probably only faking. Call her bluff!!

Si

PS Kidding! :biggrin:

would love to but she spent three of our four day trip to Bordeaux being violently ill and missed all the big chateaus so hasn't really forgiven me for that one yet... :wink:

"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

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Cayenne is pretty good. I've been going to Belfast for years (not out of choice, my in-laws live there) and restaurants have never failed to underwhelm me there. Still, things are impoving, albeit slowly. The Northern Irish can be very particular where their food is concerned. If it doesn't fall into one of the following groups: pig, sugar, butter, chocolate, potato, tea, cow and isn't prepared in one of the following ways: boiled, fried, oven baked beyond recognition, then it's considered inedible. I have literally a book's worth of material on eating experiences I've had in N.I. over a ten year period. My most recent one was lunch at a Wetherspoon's like pub that's just opened up near Antrim. It was supposed to have, as my brother-in-law's girlfriend called it, 'a continental menu'. But when I ordered the spaghetti with tomatoes and olives (the safest thing on the menu) my sister-in-law, a grown woman of 31 made horrible faces at the thought of eating pasta. That was before I was asked by the waiter if I wanted 'a bit of Italian cheese sprinkled on top'. It took a lot of polite smiling to get through that one.

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Cayenne is pretty good. I've been going to Belfast for years (not out of choice, my in-laws live there) and restaurants have never failed to underwhelm me there. Still, things are impoving, albeit slowly.  The Northern Irish can be very particular where their food is concerned. If it doesn't fall into one of the following groups: pig, sugar, butter, chocolate, potato, tea, cow and isn't prepared in one of the following ways: boiled, fried, oven baked beyond recognition, then it's considered inedible. I have literally a book's worth of material on eating experiences I've had in N.I. over a ten year period. My most recent one was lunch at a Wetherspoon's like pub that's just opened up near Antrim. It was supposed to have, as my brother-in-law's girlfriend called it, 'a continental menu'. But when I ordered the spaghetti with tomatoes and olives (the safest thing on the menu) my sister-in-law, a grown woman of 31 made horrible faces at the thought of eating pasta. That was before I was asked by the waiter if I wanted 'a bit of Italian cheese sprinkled on top'. It took a lot of polite smiling to get through that one.

Mmmm, yeah not holding out much hope for a gourmet weekend but still! have you tried Michael Deanes the 1 michelin star?

"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

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Cayenne is pretty good. I've been going to Belfast for years (not out of choice, my in-laws live there) and restaurants have never failed to underwhelm me there. Still, things are impoving, albeit slowly.  The Northern Irish can be very particular where their food is concerned. If it doesn't fall into one of the following groups: pig, sugar, butter, chocolate, potato, tea, cow and isn't prepared in one of the following ways: boiled, fried, oven baked beyond recognition, then it's considered inedible. I have literally a book's worth of material on eating experiences I've had in N.I. over a ten year period. My most recent one was lunch at a Wetherspoon's like pub that's just opened up near Antrim. It was supposed to have, as my brother-in-law's girlfriend called it, 'a continental menu'. But when I ordered the spaghetti with tomatoes and olives (the safest thing on the menu) my sister-in-law, a grown woman of 31 made horrible faces at the thought of eating pasta. That was before I was asked by the waiter if I wanted 'a bit of Italian cheese sprinkled on top'. It took a lot of polite smiling to get through that one.

Mmmm, yeah not holding out much hope for a gourmet weekend but still! have you tried Michael Deanes the 1 michelin star?

We've never been able to get into Deane's. It's always booked up.

One positive development - Paul Rankin has opened a little place in Belfast airport which actually does really nice soups/sandwiches, etc. I do think Rankin should be knighted for services to the people of Northern Ireland.

Edited by Hallie (log)
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There's a much more confident vibe in Belfast these days, quite a bit of money being lashed around and things have come a long way in the last year. It is not a culinary hotspot, but there are some interesting things happening, like Andy’s recommendation of Mourne’s Seafood Bar (shame about the seafood allergy). The Belfast branch is their second restaurant, the first one is just a bit outside Belfast city in Dundrum, Co Down and is well worth a visit. Great for lunch and a walk afterwards. They raise their own mussels, oysters and cockles and the fish comes from the local harbours of Kilkeel and Annalong.

But back to your request. Cayenne, Paul Rankin’s place is good for a slightly different take on food. The website here will give you an idea of the approach. But there’s a new place, Molly’s Bar (well, nearly a year old) owned by one of the Hilden Brewing family which is the place of the moment. Locally sourced produce like Finnebrogue venison, oysters etc feature, the cooking is confident and the pricing is spot-on. This is probably your best bet. You’ll need to book if you want to get a table at the weekend.

James Street South Restaurant also offers some good cooking, seasonal produce and fair pricing. Alden’s, a bit further out of town in East Belfast has good bistro food, good service and is well-priced. It's got a Bib Gourmand, for what it's worth, so think of it at this level. Restaurant Michael Deane, which you mention, is the only place with a star. I haven't been but know that it's good, if a bit more formal (and expensive). So, if you want the Michelin experience, this is the one.

On the “ethnic” side of things, there’s a new place called Zen which is completely over-the-top with a glass floored catwalk corridor, a wall of water and all sorts of carry-on. Worth it to see the space, but the Japanese/Asian food is just average (everyone up there will tell you it's brilliant... it's not). A nice cocktail bar though.

For more informal daytime stuff, Nick’s Warehouse is good quality and well-priced and is in the newly named “Cathedral Quarter”. 2Taps, a branch of the original taps restaurant is also nearby which is very popular and OK for Tapas (a bit pedestrian to suit the market, chilli squid is the most popular "pushing the bundaries" dish in Belfast, but the chef spent quite a bit of time in Catalonia). There's a great buzz around these two places on a Friday evening. Deane’s Deli is also very popular, but I wouldn’t be mad about it.

The place to stay is the new Merchant Hotel (formerly the Ulster Bank).

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