The Sunday Business Post - National Treasures

Posted: 17/5/2011


Michael Deane at Deanes, Howard Street, Belfast

You need only look at the string of successful ventures Michael Deane has embarked on to understand why he has made such a mark on cuisine in the North.

For too long, citizens from the Republic have failed to venture forth and explore the talent that people in the North get to enjoy.

The Michelin guide may have seen fit to remove Deane’s star, but he still sparkles for us.

From his beginnings in Claridge’s in London, Deane returned to the North in 1993, opening Deanes on the Square to great acclaim and winning his first Michelin star. In 1997, he opened the trademark two storey space on Howard Street in Belfast city centre, combining a brasserie and a fine dining restaurant.

Until recently it was the longest standing and only Michelin-starred restaurant in the North.

And if stars don’t impress you, there’s always Deane’s tenacity - when his restaurant was flooded in early 2010, he brushed himself down and took the opportunity to revamp it.

Ably supported in the kitchens by Simon Toye, he created three dining spaces, including a seafood bar, a bistro space and a fine dining tasting menu experience.

On the menu, expect ingredients such as Strangford scallops, which stand gloriously alone but are matched by accompaniments such as pickled salad of carrots, tarragon and a vinaigrette of orange and thyme.

Like all good chefs, Deane is not afraid to let pure ingredients stand apart, and it is this respect for the innate purity of ingredients which sees him source beyond our shores, too.

The creed seems to be: ‘‘The best when it is available locally, but the best from further afield when it exceeds what’s to hand."

Nothing can match the likes of his roast Brittany quail, especially when it’s matched with a deep-fried egg, quail ballotine and toasted gingerbread with a spinach salad.

A day trip to Belfast will only get you one Michael Deane meal, but with a longer break, suddenly you could find yourself eating in one of his several eateries across the city. Time to book those tables and head north.

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