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FEATURES | BELFAST

FEATURES | BELFAST LOCAL HEROES BELFAST HAS LONG SAILED BELOW THE FOODIE RADAR, BUT A PASSIONATE
FEATURES | BELFAST LOCAL HEROES BELFAST HAS LONG SAILED BELOW THE FOODIE RADAR, BUT A PASSIONATE
FEATURES | BELFAST LOCAL HEROES BELFAST HAS LONG SAILED BELOW THE FOODIE RADAR, BUT A PASSIONATE

LOCAL

HEROES

FEATURES | BELFAST LOCAL HEROES BELFAST HAS LONG SAILED BELOW THE FOODIE RADAR, BUT A PASSIONATE

BELFAST HAS LONG SAILED BELOW THE FOODIE RADAR, BUT A PASSIONATE BAND OF CHEFS, MERCHANTS AND PRODUCERS ARE NOW FORCING THE WORLD TO TAKE NOTICE WITH AWARD-WINNING FARE. NEXT TIME YOU’RE IN TOWN, WE SUGGEST YOU PAY THEM A VISIT

NEXT TIME YOU’RE IN TOWN, WE SUGGEST YOU PAY THEM A VISIT PATRICK McGUIGAN ADAM PATTERSON

PATRICK

McGUIGAN

ADAMIN TOWN, WE SUGGEST YOU PAY THEM A VISIT PATRICK McGUIGAN PATTERSON THE MASTER BUTCHER George

PATTERSON

THE MASTER BUTCHER

George McCartney, McCartney’s of Moira

THE MASTER BUTCHER George McCartney, McCartney’s of Moira NORTHERN IRISH FOOD was thrust into the limelight

NORTHERN IRISH FOOD was thrust into the

limelight last year, when corned beef made by fifth-generation butcher George McCartney beat over 7,000 of the UK’s best foods to be named Supreme Champion at the 2011 Great Taste Awards. The national media immediately jumped on the story, taking delight in corned beef’s retro image. “I was told on the night that winning would change my life forever and they weren’t wrong,” says McCartney, who runs the business with his two daughters and brother. At an age when most men would be considering retirement, McCartney, 62, now happily spends most days cranking out corned beef to meet orders from Selfridges Foodhall, among others. It’s an amazing achievement for a traditional village butcher’s shop, which hasn’t changed its values since McCartney’s great-great-grandfather founded the

business more than 140 years ago. Based in Moira,

a 20-minute drive from Belfast, jolly butchers preside

over counters heaving with sausages and aged beef from local farms. Queues down the village high street have been a common sight for generations. McCartney’s corned-beef inspiration came from a 100-year-old recipe discovered among his grandfather’s possessions. “You can’t always invent something brand new,” he says. “Sometimes you have to go back in time to go forward.”

Made with aged silverside from local farms, the beef

is dry cured and cooked for 14 hours until it’s meltingly

soft. It’s as far removed from the cheap tinned stuff of the 1970s as Champagne is from cooking sherry. McCartney’s of Moira, 56-58 Main Street, Moira, County Down; tel: +44 (0)28 9261 1422, mccartneysofmoira.com

of Moira, 56-58 Main Street, Moira, County Down; tel: +44 (0)28 9261 1422, mccartneysofmoira.com 48 |

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FEATURES | PAELLA WAR

FEATURES | BELFAST

THE FOOD CHAMPION

Nick Price, Nick’s Warehouse

| BELFAST THE FOOD CHAMPION Nick Price, Nick’s Warehouse BELFAST’S CATHEDRAL QUARTER might be the modern

BELFAST’S CATHEDRAL QUARTER might be the

modern cultural hub of the city, buzzing with galleries, restaurants and bars, but Nick’s Warehouse was there long before it became the hip place to hang out. Set up over 20 years ago by chef Nick Price and his wife, Kathy, the three-storey eaterie is housed in a former whiskey warehouse, which recalls its industrial past with bare brick walls and restored Victorian pillars. It’s a vibrant place with chefs whirling round the open kitchen as they concoct hearty plates of roasted meats and grilled fish. Price has done more than almost anyone to champion Northern Irish food, from promoting the slow-food movement here to organising an array of local food groups. Originally from Killinchy, south of Belfast, where he helped set up and run the famous

Daft Eddy’s pub and restaurant, he has been sourcing from local producers for his own restaurants long before it became fashionable. Venison from the Finnebrogue Estate competes on the menu with local sirloin steaks, dry aged for over a month, while Price works with nearby Glastry Farm Ice Cream to develop a variety of wacky flavours for diners, such as rhubarb and custard. The decades of hard work he has put in to Northern Irish food has played a huge part in creating the vibrant scene today. “People are surprised at the quality they get when they come here,” he says. “They may not have thought of it as a food destination, but Belfast punches above its weight.” Nick’s Warehouse. 35-39 Hill Street, Belfast; tel: +44 (0)28 9043 9690, nickswarehouse.co.uk

“People are surprised at the quality they get when they come here”

9043 9690, nickswarehouse.co.uk “People are surprised at the quality they get when they come here” 50

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THE BUZZ | TASTE BUDS

THE GOURMET MERCHANTS

Mark and Laura Brown, Arcadia Delicatessen

GOURMET MERCHANTS Mark and Laura Brown, Arcadia Delicatessen THE WORLD HAS changed since Mark and Laura

THE WORLD HAS changed since Mark and Laura Brown took over Arcadia Delicatessen from Mark’s father six years ago. These days, Laura spends as much time tweeting and tending the shop’s Facebook page as her husband does serving customers. This modern approach seems to be paying off, with Arcadia named as one of the top 10 delis in the UK last year. “The internet is now a big part of the Belfast food scene,” says Laura. “The foodie community is growing, thanks to social media like Twitter. It’s where we hear what the local chefs and food producers are doing, and read what the city’s food bloggers are saying.” Belfast’s Lisburn Road has also changed, evolving into the city’s “style mile”, with fashion and beauty boutiques, restaurants and cafés. Arcadia suits the independent ethos perfectly, working with small local and continental suppliers to keep the Aladdin’s cave of a shop crammed with gourmet goodies. Floor-to-ceiling shelves are full of handmade jams, exotic spices and perfumed teas, but the main attraction is the enormous deli counter that stretches the length of the shop, bursting with cheeses, hams

and olives. Fermanagh Black Bacon, made with rare-breed pork and dry cured for three months by butcher Pat O’Doherty, is a delicious highlight. “People here spend more on groceries than in other parts of the UK,” says Laura. “We’re really into food.” Arcadia Delicatessen. 378 Lisburn Road, Belfast; tel: +44 (0)28 9038 1779, arcadiadeli.co.uk

food.” Arcadia Delicatessen. 378 Lisburn Road, Belfast; tel: +44 (0)28 9038 1779, arcadiadeli.co.uk TRAVELLER | 51
food.” Arcadia Delicatessen. 378 Lisburn Road, Belfast; tel: +44 (0)28 9038 1779, arcadiadeli.co.uk TRAVELLER | 51

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FEATURES | BELFAST

THE TOP CHEF

Niall McKenna, James Street South

| BELFAST THE TOP CHEF Niall McKenna, James Street South NIALL MCKENNA GREW accustomed to cooking

NIALL MCKENNA GREW accustomed to cooking with fabulous ingredients during a 14-year stint working for some of London’s best chefs, including Marco Pierre White and Gary Rhodes. But when he came home to set up his restaurant, James Street South, in 2003, even he was surprised by the quality of what was on his doorstep. “The produce is unbelievable – better than I’ve had anywhere else. Whether its four legs or two, or growing in the ground, there isn’t a bad season in Northern Ireland,” he says. “Then there’s the seafood: oysters, lobster, turbot, salmon – you name it, it’s coming out of Irish waters.” This zeal for local, seasonal ingredients has prompted McKenna and wife, Joanne, to open The Bar + Grill next door to James Street South. Taking inspiration from New York steakhouses, the establishment includes a cookery school and acts as a showcase for the region’s farmers and fishermen. Flying the food flag for Northern Ireland isn’t a new thing for McKenna. His poached rhubarb with strawberry jelly and lavender ice cream won the dessert stage of The Great British Menu – a competition among the UK’s best chefs – in 2010 and was served at a banquet attended by Prince Charles. It’s still a popular choice in the restaurant, but don’t expect to

order it now: if it’s not in season, it’s not on the menu.

James Street South, 21 James Street South, Belfast; tel: +44 (0)28 9043 4310, jamesstreetsouth.co.uk

James Street South, 21 James Street South, Belfast; tel: +44 (0)28 9043 4310, jamesstreetsouth.co.uk 52 |

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James Street South, 21 James Street South, Belfast; tel: +44 (0)28 9043 4310, jamesstreetsouth.co.uk 52 |
THE EXOTIC TRADER Oscar Woolley, Suki Tea WHEN OSCAR WOOLLEY and business partner, Anne Rooney,
THE EXOTIC TRADER Oscar Woolley, Suki Tea WHEN OSCAR WOOLLEY and business partner, Anne Rooney,

THE EXOTIC TRADER

Oscar Woolley, Suki Tea

THE EXOTIC TRADER Oscar Woolley, Suki Tea WHEN OSCAR WOOLLEY and business partner, Anne Rooney, fi

WHEN OSCAR WOOLLEY and business partner, Anne Rooney, first set up Suki Tea in 2005, they both had full-time jobs and would spend every evening lling paper bags with their amazing tea blends. “We’d both lived in Asia and had independently developed a love of good tea, so setting up a tea business seemed a natural thing to do,” recalls Woolley. The hard work was all in preparation for weekend trading at Belfast’s St George’s Market, which has long been the heartbeat of the city’s food scene – and it remains an important part of the business today, even though Suki now exports to nine countries. Teas such as Fairtrade organic Earl Grey with blue cornflower petals are hand blended at the company’s unit, with leaves from a Tanzanian farm that Woolley has visited, although it’s their signature Belfast Brew that goes down best with locals at the market stall. St George’s Market, 12-20 East Bridge Street, Belfast; belfastcity.gov.uk/stgeorgesmarket. Suki Tea, Unit 6, Curran House, Twin Spires Centre 6, Belfast; tel:

+44 (0)28 9033 0938, suki-tea.com

Centre 6, Belfast; tel: +44 (0)28 9033 0938, suki-tea.com easyJet flies to Belfast from 19 destinations.

easyJet flies to

Belfast from 19 destinations. See our insider guides on page 118. Book online at easyJet.com

easyJet flies to Belfast from 19 destinations. See our insider guides on page 118. Book online

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