So, big news for Belfast dining scene: Deanes Eipic, the fancy joint by Michael Deane, is shutting shop. After 25 years and holding a Michelin star, it’s throwing in the towel. Why? Well, according to Deane, things have changed. The tasting menu, with its pricey offerings like cod in champagne sauce or shorthorn tartare, just doesn’t cut it anymore at £100 a head. Brexit, COVID, and people wanting something different—Deane’s got a plan.
Meat Haven: Deanes Meat Locker
Let’s talk about Deanes Meat Locker, part of Michael Deane’s trio of restaurants along Howard Street. No surprises here—it’s all about the meat. In Belfast, steaks are as common as chapels in Rome. The city takes pride in its local produce, and Deanes? They’ve got the good stuff and they’re not messing with it.
I walk in on a Tuesday—a day most joints close in Belfast. But not Deanes Meat Locker. It’s buzzing, cozy with red walls and a lively vibe. Deane himself is there, keeping an eye on things, looking just like his caricature on the menu—chef’s gear, slick silver hair, and those cool rectangular glasses.
Simple and Delicious
The menu here is straightforward, and that’s the charm. They focus on steaks grilled on a big Argentine grill you can see through the window. T-bones, chateaubriands, sauces, and chips—classic stuff. Don’t expect a load of veggie options here; it’s called the Meat Locker, after all.
They nail the basics: top-quality salt-aged sirloin steaks and sugar-pit bacon chops from Hannan Meats. Sliced for sharing, served with pepper sauce and chimichurri—simple and delicious. The thick, crispy chips? Spot on. And there’s a peppery rocket and parmesan salad to balance it all out.
Starters Show Skills
The starters? They’re the real deal. Crisp-seared scallops, a dreamy Jerusalem artichoke puree, and a pig head fritter—sounds fancy, tastes amazing. Oh, and the pork belly cubes with that Korean twist? Crunchy and melty, with a sweet-sour Asian slaw that’s just right.
Dessert time! We try the spiced crème brûlée with stewed apple and a crunchy chocolate-chip cookie. And there’s a chocolate and Seville orange tart, a must-try with clotted cream on top.
Good Vibes and Wine
The wine list won’t make your head spin with crazy prices. Most bottles are under £40, making it easy to enjoy the night. Service is top-notch; they’re all about making sure you have a great time.
Deane says closing Eipic was the right call. The restaurant I’m in will expand into the space. The menu might see some tweaks, but this vibe is the way forward.
A Shift in Dining Trends
This move isn’t just happening here. Chefs like Kray Treadwell and Michael O’Hare are rethinking tasting menus for a more relaxed dining experience. If places like Deanes Meat Locker are leading the way, we’re in for some good eating.
More Bites of News
- Pidgin in London is going back to basics, ditching their elaborate tasting menu for something simpler and cheaper. Seems like folks want a more laid-back vibe.
- Kricket is opening a new spot in Canary Wharf, expanding their delicious Indian food empire in London.
- Home Dining: Aaron Dalton’s occasional restaurant “Four” operates from his family home in Worthing, offering a fancy seven-course menu. Fancy a unique dining experience?
Deanes Meat Locker might be a sign of changing tastes in dining. Simple, delicious, and relaxed—that seems to be the way forward for many places. If you’re after a no-fuss, tasty steak in Belfast, this might just be your spot.