Belfast claims two Michelin stars for Deanes Eipic and OX
Belfast has secured its place on the culinary map with two of its top city centre restaurants claiming coveted Michelin stars.
Deanes Eipic and Ox were today named as worthy recipients.
The Michelin Guide made their announcements early on Twitter ahead of the planned release on Thursday at 7.30am.
They tweeted: "Once again apologies to everyone. We wanted you to hear it from us first. It was out of our hands."
Ox, the brainchild of chef Stephen Toman and Alain Kerloc'h has enjoyed huge success since it joined Belfast's growing restaurant landscape in March 2013 when it opened at Oxford Street.
It had been hotly anticipated for a Michelin star as it has previously fended off some of London's best Michelin-starred eateries to pick up top awards.
Most recently it was awarded Menu of the Year at the Cateys in London, adding to the burgeoning number of accolades its received in the two years it has been open.
It now adds a gleaming Michelin star to its collection.
OX Belfast tweeted: "Wow! We are absolutely delighted and very proud of team OX. What an honour! Thanks everyone for the support and kind words."
Meanwhile restaurateur Michael Deane is thrilled that his new venture, Deanes Eipic, has met with such early success just 18 months after it opened in Belfast's Howard street.
This marks a return of the Michelin star to Michael Deane after a four-year hiatus - he had a star with his Howard street restaurant for 14 years.
Eipic is the most sophisticated in the Deanes restaurant portfolio - which includes Deanes Meat Locker, Deanes Love Fish, Deanes Deli Bistro & Vin Café, Deanes at Queens and Deane & Decano.
The elegant restaurant adjoins Deanes flagship premises in Howard Street.
Michael said: “It is an absolute joy to be awarded the much coveted Michelin star so soon after opening our doors. It’s no secret that my vision is for Eipic to be amongst the finest restaurant on these islands and it is a fantastic reward to know that we have been delivering to such high expectations right from the outset.
"Head chef Danni Barry and the team have worked hard to produce an exceptional experience at Deanes Eipic, taking diners on a culinary journey that will live on in their minds long after the meal is over and they are to be applauded for their efforts.
“When we opened last year I wanted to bring the high-end market that has almost disappeared back to the city and I stated then that I would like to see three or four Michelin stars in Northern Ireland over the next few years.
"Now the city has 2 stars again we are undoubtedly on the up and I would like to offer my congratulations to the team at OX for their success as well.”
Head chef Danni Barry, who at just 29, returned to her native Northern Ireland from England to head up the kitchen at Eipic.
She says receiving a Michelin star underlines how right her decision to come back home was.
“There are some really exciting things happening in food in Belfast and I’m so thrilled to be a part of putting the city back on the Michelin map. I trained under Michael Deane whom I have long admired, before working in England for Michelin starred chef Simon Rogan, so I jumped at the chance to head up the Eipic kitchen.
"I love doing what I do and the Michelin star is a fantastic homecoming gift."