High-end burger joint cooking up 25 new jobs for Belfast city centre
A former Michelin-starred chef who worked for Heston Blumenthal is creating 25 new jobs with the opening of the latest top-end burger joint in the heart of Belfast's Cathedral Quarter.
And Tom Gleeson, co-founder of Bunsen - which has five locations in the Republic, said the restaurant could look at a second spot here in the near future.
The 33-year-old, who formerly graced the kitchens of the famous three-Michelin starred The Fat Duck, will open his first Northern Ireland restaurant this weekend.
He runs the business with his co-founder and cousin Finn Gleeson.
The chain is taking on the ground floor of Longbridge House at Waring Street in Belfast city centre, which is owned by BJ Eastwood's firm Wirefox.
Tom Gleeson spent a year trying out a variety of recipes and combinations of cuts of beef, before settling on the current Bunsen burger.
That followed a time working in New York and visiting some of the city's top burger joints.
"I came from a Michelin-starred background and used to work at The Fat Duck. I got the idea after living in New York," he said.
"I spent about a year trialling the recipe, the cheese, and baked the buns myself - applying that Michelin ethos to the burger."
More than £200,000 has been spent on turning the newly refurbished unit, which sits close to the Merchant Hotel and Duke of York pub, into a stripped-back, modern burger joint.
Mr Gleeson said: "We are trying to replicate the flavour of USDA prime beef. The Burger Joint in New York was one of the places I visited so much.
"If you remove the choice and, if the bun and burger are good, then that's all you need."
"We self-finance and we are going to create 25 jobs, half of which would be part-time."
And he's hoping for strong business, located in the heart of the city's thriving nightlife area, the Cathedral Quarter."
"We are really excited about the Cathedral Quarter. It's a great location and Ulster University is also moving up the street," he said.
"We are always looking to expand. We are not looking to cast our net too far forward, but if this goes well we would look at another location in Northern Ireland."
Mr Gleeson said Bunsen's burgers fit in between "over-complicated gourmet and fast food".
"We use high-end ingredients. It's a nice environment, and you have a waitress and water on the table," he said.
Bunsen serves a simple selection of burgers, cheese burgers, fries and a range of craft beer.
Speaking about his time in top, high-pressure kitchens such as The Fat Duck, he said: "It's just a more considered approach. Every ingredient is highly considered and you test things 20 times."