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Galgorm brothers bring Italian touch to unloved central Belfast venue formerly the Malt Room and Bourbon

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Fratelli’s head chef Johnny Glass, general manager Michael Johnston, sales and marketing manager Beth Swindlehurst and project manager Colin Johnston at the new 200-seater restaurant in Belfast’s Great Victoria Street.

Fratelli’s head chef Johnny Glass, general manager Michael Johnston, sales and marketing manager Beth Swindlehurst and project manager Colin Johnston at the new 200-seater restaurant in Belfast’s Great Victoria Street.

Fratelli’s head chef Johnny Glass, general manager Michael Johnston, sales and marketing manager Beth Swindlehurst and project manager Colin Johnston at the new 200-seater restaurant in Belfast’s Great Victoria Street.

Galgorm Resort brothers the Hills are set to bring their "Midas touch" to an unloved city location - with a new Italian restaurant.

Paul and Nicholas Hill, who own Galgorm Resort and Spa in Ballymena, and their company Tullymore House Ltd are opening Fratelli in a £500,000 investment, creating 35 new jobs.

The Great Victoria Street venue has seen many ups and downs. Last year it played host to the grand opening of The Malt Room, a restaurant opened by building owner Lord Rana and chef Raymond McArdle to a great fanfare in November last year.

But the Malt Room failed to entice the palettes of Belfast diners, and closed around two months ago.

Fratelli is a tried-and-tested formula, with the Hill brothers already operating a sister Italian restaurant of that name at the Galgorm - a sought-after wedding venue.

They are also behind the £12m transformation of the Scottish Mutual Building near Belfast City Hall into a hotel.

Project manager Colin Johnston, who is overseeing the launch of the new restaurant, said: "Fratelli Belfast will offer a part of the Galgorm experience in the heart of the city and we are very much looking forward to welcoming new guests, colleagues and familiar faces."

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The location was also home to Restaurant Victoria and, before that, Bourbon.

Belfast Telegraph restaurant critic Joris Minne said the brothers were likely to succeed with the location. "The Hills have the Midas touch. Anyone who can generate 400 weddings a year in one of Northern Ireland's most expensive venues, Galgorm Resort near Ballymena, knows their market.

"The Great Victoria Street site seems cursed. If the Hills cannot exorcise the place and make Fratelli work, no-one can."

Tullymore House Ltd is also behind the ambitious transformation into a hotel of the Scottish Mutual building, opposite City Hall. The company bought the building, presently offices and retail, from Nama in a £2m deal.


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