Belfast Telegraph

Food is in the air as Roscoff makes Valentine's return

By Jamie Stinson

One of Northern Ireland's most ground-breaking restaurants is making a one-night comeback for Valentine's Day.

The former Paul Rankin restaurant Roscoff opened in 1989 and was the first in Northern Ireland to win a prestigious Michelin star.

Few restaurants have had the same impact on the region's culinary landscape with acclaimed chefs Robbie Miller, Raymond McArdle and Michael Deane all passing through its kitchen.

The 'Roscoff Revisited' pop-up will be run by former Rankin right-hand man and Mourne Seafood co-founder Andy Rea, who said he wanted to offer a "slice of what was an iconic restaurant". For £40 per head, diners will be able to sample a six-course, set menu of the restaurant's signature dishes, including smoked salmon pancake, duck confit and lemon curd cheesecake. The 60-cover event will take place on February 14 in Newtownards coffee shop Haptik.

Mr Rea, a former head chef at Roscoff, said: "We want to give a small snapshot of Roscoff to a younger generation."

Joris Minne, Belfast Telegraph restaurant critic, said: "Roscoff opened in 1989 just as the yuppie boom reached a climax. It was the signal that Belfast had clicked into the new generation of optimists, entrepreneurs and style-conscious socialites.

"But Roscoff was no flash in the pan. Paul and Jeannie Rankin went on to establish an institution which would last 20 years and generate a whole new generation of top chefs."

Rankin, who has since closed all his restaurant interests, has given the project his blessing.

"I have spoken with Paul and he gives the pop-up his seal of approval," Mr Rea added.

"After working as Paul's right-hand man for more than a decade he's safe in the knowledge the recipes are in good hands and that those who fondly remember the restaurant will have another opportunity to sample the dishes that made Roscoff synonymous with good food."

Paul Rankin lit a fire under the restaurant scene in Northern Ireland when he opened Roscoff in Belfast in 1989 - and earned a Michelin star. His right-hand man Andy Rea is behind a pop-up 'Roscoff Revisited' night at Haptik in Newtownards.

Haptik owner Johnny McBride said: "It was the best restaurant in Belfast. Getting to work with those people now is really exciting."

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