Michelin-stared OX restaurant, Belfast
Book a table at a Michelin-rated restaurant and you’re in for a gastronomic experience to remember; whether it’s fine dining for a special occasion or delicious feasts that don’t break the bank.
Here’s a handy guide to all the Michelin star and Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurants in Northern Ireland listed in the 2017 guide.
Eipic, Belfast, one Michelin star
Eipic is Irish for Epic, and this restaurant is certainly that. Part of Michael Deane’s empire in Belfast, Eipic is headed up by Danni Barry, one of an elite group of female chefs who hold Michelin stars. With price and vegetarian options, the restaurant has three key menus to choose from and offers exceptional wine pairing. Local produce takes high precedence, as does seasonality, and Barry isn’t afraid to be progressive. The Howard Street dining room is elegant and ambient, just right for the delicate, innovative and perfectly presented food.
OX, Belfast, one Michelin star
It’s all industrial lighting, salvaged seating and an open kitchen at the Michelin starred OX on Belfast’s Oxford Street. The bare brick whitewashed walls are intentionally devoid of decoration, as the real artwork is presented on each plate. With an enthusiastic approach to seasonality, OX’s modern Irish cuisine uses the best locally sourced ingredients, and each dish leaving the kitchen is designed so every element on the plate has an integral role in showcasing them. A carefully compiled wine list features local microbreweries and exciting wine makers.
Wine & Brine, County Down, Michelin Bib Gourmand
Great British Menu fans might recognise regional champion, Chris McGowan. After 20 years in London, McGowan opened the doors to his first solo venture in Moira just before Christmas 2015. Not a year later, Wine & Brine captured a Michelin Bib Gourmand. The London inspired elegance of the menu is, therefore, paired with affordability. The restaurant’s butcher is a stone’s throw away; the greens and grains are picked from the surrounding soils and the beers are brewed locally. McGowan’s famous ‘tongue ’n’ cheek’ pie is a must.
Bar + Grill at James Street South, Belfast, Michelin Bib Gourmand
It is labelled the more laid back, slightly cheekier little brother of top Belfast eatery, James Street South, yet Bar + Grill is a key player in veteran chef, Niall McKenna’s, restaurant repertoire. The restaurant gained a Bib Gourmand status for doing things simply and well. The menu changes according to what’s local and seasonal, but the beef, cooked on a Josper grill, is renowned for giving unbelievable taste and texture. The red brick walls, high ceiling and warehouse style windows make for a light, unpretentious setting, befitting the menu.
Home, Belfast, Michelin Bib Gourmand
With high ceilings, exposed columns and cool industrial fittings, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d stepped into a hipster New York deli at Home. This Belfast eatery is a bustling hub of wholesome, locally sourced, quality ingredients that has retained a Michelin Bib Gourmand since 2013. With Ben Arnold at the helm, the food is vibrant and bold, yet familiar and comforting. It’s famed for long standing menu favourites from its previous life as a pop-up, such as whipped goat’s cheese with candied walnuts, or hot and sour Asian chicken broth.
Deanes at Queens, Belfast, Michelin Bib Gourmand
A bustling and informal bar and grill, Deanes at Queens is a Bib Gourmand holder and provides the perfect platform for head chef Chris Fearon, a Great British Menu national finals winner. Fearon’s dishes are inspired and characterised by the seasons, resulting in a menu that is adventurous, but approachable, uplifting and earthy. While simplicity is key, there are deceptively complex innovations in his dishes, all prepared to perfection. The dining room space, which was the former Queen's University common room, is flooded with light and surrounded by great views.
Fontana, County Down, Michelin Bib Gourmand
A firm favourite in Holywood, Fontana’s good value and great quality ingredients have allowed it to achieve Michelin Bib Gourmand status and attract eager diners from far and wide. Contemporary décor, and with open plan kitchen for spectacle, the menu is largely British and Mediterranean with the occasional Asian influence. Local seafood plays an integral part in the seasonal menu, with specialities such as Portavogie prawns. Many of the herbs and roots in the dishes are home-grown and foraged, adding to Fontana’s gastronomic allure.
The Old Schoolhouse Inn, County Down, Michelin Bib Gourmand
Stylish and sumptuous, The Old Schoolhouse Inn is just a stone's throw from Strangford Lough in a cosy rural location. It has held a Michelin Bib Gourmand since 2014, and the cuisine at this long standing Comber institution celebrates the finest Northern Ireland produce alongside Strangford Lough’s seafood. Under chef, Will Brown, simple, accomplished dishes bursting with flavour and vibrancy flow out of the kitchen – think Comber barley field pigeon, Scrabo cottage pork belly with foie gras sausage roll, or octopus roulade with shaved fennel and smoked eel.