EIPIC is very much the jewel in the crown of the Deane's restaurant flagship space on Belfast's Howard Street. It has already claimed a Michelin star in September 2015, just a mere eighteen months after opening. Owner Micheal Deane has clearly statued his vision for EIPIC as being "amongst the finest restaurants in these islands", and chef Danni Barry has fulfilled that dream in double quick time.
With both EIPIC and fellow Belfast restaurant OX, claiming Michelin stars in 2015, it was time to revisit Belfast and sample some more of its exciting food and drinks scene. (Read here for my earlier January visit to pre-Michelin star OX). Following some excellent cocktails at new bar APOC, we strolled over to City Hall for dinner at EIPIC. Entering through "Deanes Love Fish", our coats were taken and we were lead through to the calm and serene dining room. Large silver discs gently reflect soft light from one wall, while a slightly askew paining on the far wall triggered my OCD tendencies all night. The Saturday night tasting menu costs £60 per head, with wine options also available.
Once seated, we ordered a bottle of Pike's White Mullet from Clare Valley (£31.95), a lovely wine, made from 79% Riesling, with some Fiano, Pinot Grigio and Viognier. Little delicious filo cheese and onion mouthfuls started the meal, albeit oddly pillowed on a linen napkin, followed by a slow cooked egg yolk of luscious silkiness in a miso broth, mopped up with crusty bread. A great start.
|Cheese and onion in filo pastry|
|Yolk with celeriac, turnip, miso and pork skin|
The only dud note in the entire meal came next. Little slices of cured bass had a curiously hard skin, which ground unpleasantly between my teeth, and left little flavour. Things improved noticeably with the arrival of salt-baked beetroots, with goats cured and salty, crunchy sunflower seeds. A piece of halibut was golden fried, served with an intense roasted bone sauce and a little melee of cauliflower and romanesco pieces. Crisp little discs of black pudding were cleverly paired with cider-glazed partridge and cabbage, while smoked bone marrow really set off the juicy piece of salt-aged beef rib.
|Cured wild bass with kohlrabi and dill|
|Baked beetroots, goats curd and sunflower seeds|
|Halibut with roasted bone sauce and cauliflower|
|Cider-glazed partridge and black pudding|
|Salt-aged beef rib, smoked bone marrow, turnips and pickled mustard|
A short break to finish our glasses of red wine, and then it was time for the dessert courses. The cheese trolley was wheeled over for our inspection, but we regretfully declined, given it was past 11pm. Spiced apple was deceptively simple, with a custardy core hiding underneath a perfectly fitted disc of sugar crust. Even better was a beautiful piece of chestnut cake with a milk chocolate mousse and ice-cream, demonstrating a wonderful mix of textures and complimentary flavours.
|Chocolate and chestnut cake, chocolate mousse and toasted milk|
The woman in me is delighted to see a successful female chef at the helm, especially one who has earned a Michelin star in short time. It's a fitting and triumphant reward to her decision to return home to Belfast. With a firm focus on local, seasonal produce and a clean, modern presentation, Barry is a woman to keep an eye on.
Tel: +44 (0)28 9033 1134