It’s nearly as easy to get some quality grub in Belfast as it is to get a pint. That’s good news for foodies and even better news for foodies, like myself, who equate a good meal with a moderate piss up.
Belfast is a city which has always been able to cook and one that has always been appreciative of food cooked to a high standard. However we’ve traditionally been modest in our celebration of quality eateries and the number of said eateries were also in the modest bracket.
Today’s Belfast food map boasts dozens of prime locations for fans of expressive cuisine. The culinary revolution hasn’t happened overnight, but it’s never been more evident. We must be doing something right because Marco Pierre White wants a piece of the action.
The prevalence of celebrity chefs and the fact there’s so many cookery shows on the telly showcasing amazing dishes from all over the world, championing amateur and professional cooks and making a fuss about things like flavours, textures and aromas is but a good thing in my opinion.
It’s because of this saturation of cookery programmes that eating out has improved tenfold. We’re more knowledgeable about food to the point where we consider ourselves to be experts after watching half a series of Masterchef.
We’re not daunted by haute cuisine. We no longer doubt ourselves and presume something is meant to taste burnt.
The most encouraging observation I’ve made is that restaurants don’t seem as exclusive any more. Even the exclusive ones. High end restaurants like Deane’s, Coppi and OX don’t require you to wear a tuxedo, but do leaving you feeling like temporary bourgeoisie.
We’ve got food tours, speciality brasseries and pop up restaurants to rival any major city in Europe. On top of that we’re starting to build a fine portfolio of global cuisine.
If healthy eating is your thing look no further than the success story that is Slim’s Healthy Kitchen.
And just look at the Dublin Road – there’s a restaurant or takeaway every two steps, my personal favourite being quirky BYOB Kitch.
Even the greasy spoons have upped their game. I was in one the other day that asked me how I wanted my burger cooked?
And they have to. Thanks to citizen empowerment sites like Trip Advisor and Yelp reviews are coming in thick and fast from every angle.
But with this boom in food culture there’s always a catch. In exploring Belfast’s best foodie locations there’s a very real danger you’ll end up, like myself, addicted to eating out and a little bit rounder into the bargain.