Belfast Telegraph

Revealed: Which Northern Ireland restaurants made the Good Food Guide?

 

By Allan Preston

A former butcher's turned fine dining spot that's only been open for a year has been named one of Northern Ireland's top restaurants.

The Bull and Ram in Ballynahinch, Co Down, was listed today by the UK-wide Good Food Guide as the only new entry among the province's best dining spots.

Opened on May 31 last year by Londonderry-born chef Kelan McMichael, the restaurant has been attracting rave reviews with it's modern Irish bistro menu.

In total, 16 local venues were included on the Good Food list, with two Belfast restaurants sharing the highest honour of Northern Ireland's best restaurant.

The Michael Deane-owned Eipic on Howard Street and Ox located on Oxford Street received a cooking score of six out of 10.

Elizabeth Carter, Waitrose Good Food Guide editor, said both had set an exceptional standard.

Commenting on Eipic, she said: "The level of attention to detail in every mouthful is amazing, showing buckets of talent.

"Combinations are more intuitive than outrageous, but everything is a sheer joy.

"Danni Barry is a formidably talented practitioner of the contemporary gastronomic style."

Regarding Ox, she said: "On the Lagan riverside with the graceful steel torsion of the Beacon of Hope sculpture right outside, Ox is at the vanguard of Northern Irish gastronomy... and the whole place buzzes with enthusiastic staff and excited diners."

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Ox Restaurant

The other local eateries are:

  • Hadskis in Belfast, Co Antrim.
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  • Il Pirata in Belfast, Co Antrim.
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  • James Street South in Belfast, Co Antrim.
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  • Mourne Seafood Bar in Belfast, Co Antrim.
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  • Shu in Belfast, Co Antrim.
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  • The Ginger Bistro in Belfast, Co Antrim.
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  • The Muddlers Club in Belfast, Co Antrim.
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  • The Old Schoolhouse Inn in Comber, Co Down.
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  • The Bay Tree in Holywood, Co Down.
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  • Vanilla in Newcastle, Co Down.
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  • Wine and Brine in Moira, Co Armagh.
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  • Balloo House in Killinchy, Co Down.
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  • Harry's Shack in Portstewart, Co Derry.

Belfast Telegraph Food critic Joris Minne commented: "This is an extraordinary result, not least because Waitrose don't actually operate in Northern Ireland.

"The retailer would be viewed as among the best in Great Britain and its guide is well respected.

"We have developed a reputation as a foody destination.

"This is a major endorsement of that achievement. It's also good to see the usual Northern Ireland suspects have been joined by some new faces."

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Eipic

In a review from July 31 last year, Mr Minne said: "Bull and Ram is a very good restaurant, offering high quality at remarkably good prices."

Respected Observer restaurant critic Jay Rayner described it as "a class act, without being flash about it".

The renowned Good Food Guide is compiled by combining reader feedback on restaurants together with anonymous inspections by a team of industry experts.

The number one restaurant in the UK was named as Nathan Outlaw in Cornwall.

It achieved a perfect score of 10 for the second year in succession.

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