Michael Deane, the man behind the well-known Deanes Eipic, is closing its doors soon. It’s been a stalwart in Belfast fine dining scene for 25 years, boasting a Michelin star, but times are changing. The £100-a-head tasting menu just isn’t cutting it anymore. Deane’s feeling the pinch from Brexit and the ongoing pandemic. People want something different, and he’s ready to deliver.
Down Howard Street, Deane’s got three joints in a row. On the left, there’s Eipic, open only Thursdays through Saturdays. In the middle sits Love Fish, a seafood spot. And then there’s Deanes Meat Locker, guess what’s on the menu there? Belfast knows its steaks like Rome knows chapels. Quality Irish ingredients dominate menus here, and Deanes doesn’t mess with that good stuff.
Even on a Tuesday, when most places in Belfast close, Deanes Meat Locker is buzzing. The red-walled dining room feels lively, with happy vibes and the clatter of cutlery. Deane’s there, overseeing everything, looking like his menu caricature with silver hair, square glasses, and chef’s whites.
No Surprises, Just Good Eats
The menu’s not here to shock. It’s straightforward—steaks cooked on a huge Argentine grill, sauces, and chips. It’s called the Meat Locker, so veggies might feel left out, like asking if Boris Johnson’s honest. But for meat lovers, it’s paradise. They’ve got top-notch salt-aged sirloin steaks and sugar-pit bacon chops from Hannan Meats in Moira. Served sliced for sharing with sides like peppery rocket and parmesan salad.
But Wait, There’s More
Starters show off the skills that earned Eipic its accolades. Seared scallops with a silky Jerusalem artichoke purée and a pork head fritter? Simple to eat, complicated to make. And crispy pork belly cubes? They’ve got that Korean fried chicken vibe with a punch of sweet chilli heat, resting on a spot-on sweet-sour Asian slaw.
Dessert? A spiced crème brûlée with stewed apple and a crunchy cookie. Or get your hands on the winter-dark chocolate and Seville orange tart. And let’s not forget the wine list—no pretentious prices, just good stuff under £40.
Deane’s closing Eipic to expand this Meat Locker joint. Few menu tweaks are on the horizon, but the vibe will be the same—relaxed and delicious.
It’s not just Belfast. Chefs in other places like Birmingham and Leeds are ditching tasting menus for a more laidback dining experience. Seems like the trend’s moving towards good times over formality.
Food Scene Stories
Pidgin in Hackney’s returning to its roots with a simpler and cheaper menu. Kricket, famous for its Keralan fried chicken, is opening a new spot in Canary Wharf. And forget fancy dining rooms—Aaron Dalton’s cooking up a storm in his home in Worthing, West Sussex.
- Change is brewing in the food scene. High-end places are stepping back, giving way to more relaxed vibes. Whether it’s Deanes or spots like Pidgin and Kricket, it’s clear—people want good food in a chill atmosphere. And that’s a trend we can all get behind.