Belfast Telegraph

Chef Jean-Christophe Novelli reveals menu for new Belfast restaurant

Celebrity chef Jean-Christophe Novelli has revealed the menu for his début Belfast restaurant.

The multi-Michelin-starred and 5-out-of-5 AA Rosette-winning chef has given Northern Irish produce top billing for Novelli at City Quays restaurant - which is part of the all-new AC Hotel Belfast

Set on Belfast’s waterfront at the City Quays quarter, the new 112-seater venue will open in April.

Novelli at City Quays will be the celebrity chef’s first restaurant on the island of Ireland.

“You need to have wonderful ingredients to produce wonderful food, and I have been thoroughly inspired and excited by the quality and variety of produce available to me here on my Belfast doorstep,” said Jean-Christophe Novelli.

“At Novelli at City Quays, our customers can look forward to the authentic Mediterranean-inspired cuisine I am best known for, including my famous Coq au Vin, French Onion Soup and Loin of Sugar Pit Pork, and all made with the best of locally sourced ingredients.”

Among the Northern Ireland-based producers and processors will be Abernethy Butter, Hannan Meats, Ewing’s Seafood, Yellow Door and North Down Group - all local companies hand-picked by Jean-Christophe and Jim Mulholland, his Belfast grand chef, to supply the new restaurant. 

Even the charcuterie board features homegrown chorizo and salami, produced by Limavady-based Corndale Farm.

ET VOILA! Novelli at City Quays Reveal 001.jpg
L-R Jean-Christophe Novelli, Crawford Ewing, Company Director of Ewing’s Fishmonger, Peter Hannan, founder and owner of Hannan meats and Jim Mulholland, grand chef at Novelli at City Quays.

“It has always been my passion and my mission to source whatever I can locally, and it has been an incredibly rewarding experience to introduce our amazing local produce to such a globally celebrated chef as Jean-Christophe Novelli and to see him, in turn, become a champion of it,” said Mr Mulholland.

The £25m AC Hotel by Marriott is the multinational company's first hotel in Northern Ireland and will be among the city's largest, with 188 bedrooms.

Jean-Christophe Novelli’s French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup.jpg
Jean-Christophe Novelli’s French Onion Soup


  • 150g unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1kg red onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme, stalks removed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 teaspoons caster sugar
  • 750ml dry white wine
  • 350ml strong beef stock, hot
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • croûtons
  • 1 baguette
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 180g Gruyère cheese, sliced
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • pinch paprika


  1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan with the oil and gently cook the onions for about 6–8 minutes or until softened.
  2. Add the herbs and seasoning, sprinkle over the sugar and cook for a further 5 minutes or until the onions are melting and glossy.
  3. Pour in the wine and raise the heat. Bring back to the boil and simmer to reduce for 10 minutes.
  4. Add the hot stock, bring back to the boil and simmer for 25 minutes.
  5. When you are ready to serve the soup, preheat the grill. Slice the baguette diagonally and dry-fry in a heavy-based pan without oil or butter. While it is toasting, rub a clove of garlic on the bottom of the pan to infuse the bread.
  6. When the baguette pieces are golden brown, top with the sliced cheese, grind over the pepper, sprinkle with the paprika, and grill for 2–3 minutes (or microwave for 10 seconds) until the cheese is bubbling.
  7. Just before serving the soup, add the lemon juice and stir.
  8. Ladle into hot bowls and top with the cheesy croûtons. Serve immediately.

The Novelli at City Quays dish will see a twist on the classic French Onion soup recipe, with a pastry lid.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.


From Belfast Telegraph