Belfast Telegraph

Michelin a badge of honour that’s lost its lustre

By Joris Minne

We can take this latest snub from Michelin seriously or not.

For the punters going out to eat, it doesn't matter who has or hasn't secured a Michelin star.

We know the quality of Belfast's restaurant network is unusually high compared to cities of the same size in the rest of Ireland and the UK.

But for visitors and the broader tourism sector, the presence of a Michelin star is very significant. It is evidence of a sector trying hard and competing. Remember when we had three starred restaurants 10 years ago? That helped launch the city's reputation as a culinary capital.

However, the reason not to pay too much attention to the latest Michelin slap-down is the question mark that hangs over the validity of the judgments made. How, for instance, can Michelin justify the omission of OX, Balloo House, The Boathouse or Brown's in Derry?

By any standard, these are consistent and within the £28 Bib Gourmand limit.

Those other restaurants who have secured a Bib Gourmand deserve every accolade, but the credibility gap between what Michelin publishes and what is out there means that the validity of the annual scheme has been eroded.

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