Belfast Telegraph

'Empty' Stormont now serving up fine dining to public

By Noel McAdam

It is perhaps the only silver lining in the dark clouds over collapsed Stormont.

For the MLAs' own restaurant is now remaining open to the public every weekday - and with extended hours.

And it's silver service all the way.

The Members' Dining Room has proved a huge success since it was thrown open during Assembly recess periods two years ago.

But now, with none of the folks on the Hill there, one of the smallest but classiest eateries in town will be available from Monday to Friday for the foreseeable future.

Almost 2,500 people have booked in for lunch or afternoon tea since Sinn Fein pulled the plug on devolution over the DUP's handling of the RHI scandal, figures given to the Belfast Telegraph reveal.

With a price tag of £17.95 for three courses, diners can choose from mains including chicken supreme, '4hr' BBQ braised Jacob's ladder sweetcorn and black pepper mash and charred onion, pressed pork shoulder with oregano crumb and pickled green apple and steamed hake fillet.

Then afternoon tea from 2-4pm at £15 for adults and £6 for children can include cold smoked oak salmon, roasted beef with grain mustard, honey roasted ham and organic duck egg sandwiches, among others, along with pastries and a selection of teas and coffees.

An Assembly statement said: "The Members' Dining Room has been open to the public during Assembly recess periods since 2015.

"Following on from the popularity of the public dining initiative and to further strengthen its commitment to welcoming visitors to Parliament Buildings, the Assembly Commission took a decision to extend the opening times of the Members' Dining Room to weekdays throughout the year, apart from public and bank bank holidays.

"Between February and the end of June 2017, 2,497 visitors have booked in to the Members' Dining Room for lunch and afternoon tea."

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