Belfast Telegraph

Square boosted by new arrivals and expansions

By David Elliott

The development of Belfast's St Anne's Square has continued apace with news of two new restaurants and the expansion of two existing businesses which are expected to create 33 jobs.

Already opened is the 90-seater Asian themed House of Zen, Eddie Fung's seventh restaurant in Northern Ireland, while new to the square is Salt Bistro.

It's owned by husband and wife team Donal and Teresa Cooper, both veterans of the hospitality business, and has room for 50 covers.

"For the past number of years we've been involved in the "fine dining" sector in the south of Ireland," Donal Cooper said.

"For our St Anne's Square restaurant we wanted to offer something of equal quality but with a more casual atmosphere and mid range pricing which should appeal to the eclectic mix of people who work and relax in the Cathedral Quarter."

Aside from the new arrivals, existing eatery The Potted Hen is adding an extra 3,000 sq ft to its floor space which will up its covers to 75 from 50.

"We really needed to expand and the upstairs venue with fabulous views over the Square and the new MAC will also provide a bar area for people waiting for their tables," owner and chef Dermot Regan said.

And fitness club Pure Gym has also added an extra 3,000 square feet to its floor space to expand its offering.

"Our unique approach to fitness provision with no contracts and low costs has proved a real winner in St Anne's Square and it is a catalyst towards helping break down barriers to health and fitness for people of all ages," Liam Nelson, manager of Pure Gym said.

Peter Jennings from management company Turnus Ltd said the expansions shows the confidence in the regeneration the Cathedral Quarter.

"With the MAC opening this month and the University of Ulster's major proposals for relocation to the Cathedral Quarter we are anticipating a very buoyant future for St Anne's Square," he added.