The entire focus of Blank in Belfast is incredible local produce and the people who supply it. The restaurant works with suppliers and farmers of all sizes from Ireland exclusively (unless this is not feasible) in order to celebrate the best the island has to offer. Head chef Niall Duffy has worked in some top kitchens, including The Ritz and Gordon Ramsay. His aim is to surprise diners with innovative dishes and unusual ingredients that those outside the industry won't have seen before.
Rather than even display a menu, Blank instead shows what it calls the 'current Blank list'. This list shows the ingredients that will be featured, alongside the origin and who the supplier is. These include the likes of Mill Dam beef sirloin from Lisdergan Butchery in County Tyrone, Black Garlic grown by Kwanghi Chan in Dublin, or buttermilk from Draynes Farm in Lisburn. This list of ingredients is then crafted into a five-course tasting menu with optional wine pairings.
Some previous highlights have included a choux pastry filled with melted Knockanore Irish farmhouse cheese as a pre-meal nibble. This could then be followed by salt-cured salmon with dill, buttermilk and nasturtiums, pan-roasted Atlantic cod with a hazelnut crumb and celeriac foam, then a roast duck with buckwheat and tamarind. This culinary journey of a meal could finish with something like an apple granita as a palate cleanser, followed by a dark chocolate cremeux with sea salt, edible gold leaf and chocolate nibs. Cheese is a likely finale at Blank, which could come in the form of a brie-style cheese with truffle, apple and walnut.
Thanks to the ever-changing menu at Blank, this is a restaurant you could conceivably visit every week without ever having a dish twice. As restaurants in Belfast go, this is certainly one to keep an eye on.