With its well-spaced, white-clothed round tables, sombre grey colour scheme and wall of prestigious wines on display, there’s no mistaking that you’re in fine-dining territory at Eipic. This is the flagship restaurant of Belfast’s most famous chef Michael Deane and is one of a handful of restaurants in the Northern Irish capital to boast a Michelin star.
Deane’s might be the name above the door but joint star-billing is given to head chef Alex Greene, who oversees the day-to-day kitchen duties. Greene, a native of County Mourne, began his chef career cooking at the much-missed Deanes before working in the Michelin-starred London kitchens of Gordon Ramsay at Claridges and Pétrus before heading back home to Belfast.
Seasonal and local are the watchwords of the kitchen, whether on the eight-course Menu Surprise tasting menu or the three-course lunch menu, which blend a modern Irish sensibility with occasional ideas from the Far East.
Luxury might as well be another watchword: shorthorn beef gets matched with kohlrabi, lovage and ponzu, while lobster is accompanied by bone marrow, wild garlic and bonito, though the kitchen can also do classical simplicity in the likes of cod with apple, watercress, artichoke and beurre blanc.
Vegetarians, meanwhile, get the likes of kohlrabi with apple and ponzu, cavolo nero with gnocchi, black garlic and miso, and mushroom with brown butter and hispi cabbage.
If you want to leave yourself in the hands of the sommelier, wine pairings are available for each course, or there’s an 11-page list to explore yourself. Given the special-occasion atmosphere, Bordeaux and Burgundy are the obvious things to drink, though lesser-known French regions such as Alsace and the Loire are allowed to shine, too, and there’s decent New World choice as well.
Gin is another speciality, while there’s a classics-with-a-twist cocktail menu offering in-house interpretations of Manhattans and Cosmos, Margaritas and Negronis.
Food photos: Elaine Hill Photography