Belfast. Imagine running a Michelin-starred joint for 25 years, and then, poof! It’s time to call it quits. Michael Deane knows this feeling all too well. His fancy, white-tablecloth spot, Deanes Eipic, is shutting down after years of fine dining. It’s not working anymore, especially when a tasting menu costs a cool £100 per person. Deane’s read the room; people want something different, and he’s game to give it to them.
The Vibe at Deanes Meat Locker
Enter Deanes Meat Locker, right next to Deanes Eipic. This place screams meat. Belfast takes its steaks seriously, and Deanes Meat Locker knows how to do it right. It’s a happy spot, even on a quiet Tuesday night when most other hotspots are closed. You can feel the buzz in the red-walled dining room. Deane himself is there, checking dishes, looking like his own menu caricature: chef’s whites, silver hair, and those cool rectangular glasses.
The Meaty Menu
This place doesn’t mess around. It’s called the Meat Locker for a reason. Steaks rule the menu, cooked on a huge grill in the back. T-bones, chateaubriands for sharing, sauces, and chips—it’s all about the meat. But don’t expect a lot of veggie options here; it’s all about that meaty goodness.
The steaks here? Top-notch. Think salt-aged sirloins and sugar-pit bacon chops from Hannan Meats in Moira. We share slices of these juicy meats, served with a bold pepper sauce and a zesty chimichurri. And those chips? Thick and crispy, just how they should be. The peppery rocket and parmesan salad on the side add a nice touch.
Starters That Impress
But it’s not all about the steaks. The starters show off some serious skill, like those perfectly seared scallops with Jerusalem artichoke purée and a crispy pig head fritter. Or how about the pork belly cubes, Korean-style? They’re crunchy, melt-in-your-mouth bites, sitting on a sweet-sour Asian slaw. And don’t miss out on the local oysters or those Dutch beef croquettes—they’re a delight.
Ending on a Sweet Note
Even though we’re full, we dive into a spiced crème brûlée with soft stewed apple and a chocolate-chip cookie. There’s a winter-dark chocolate and Seville orange tart on the menu, too, served with clotted cream. And here’s a surprise—the wine list won’t break the bank, with most bottles under £40. They want you to relax and enjoy.
Deane’s New Chapter
Deane’s been known for high-end dining, but he’s embracing the chill vibes. Belfast Closing Eipic is the move; this place is expanding. There’ll be some tweaks to the menu, but the vibe at Deanes Meat Locker is the way forward.
Changing Tides in Dining
It’s not just here; other places are switching things up. Chefs like Kray Treadwell and Michael O’Hare are moving away from fancy tasting menus. They want something more relaxed, ditching the formality for a good time.
Food News Bites
And hey, Pidgin in London’s Hackney is also going back to basics, getting rid of their full tasting menu for a simpler, cheaper one. Kricket’s also expanding, opening another spot in Canary Wharf. And if you’re in Worthing, check out Aaron Dalton’s home restaurant, Four, for a taste of his delicious cooking.
We’re witnessing a shift from fancy, structured dining to more relaxed vibes. If Deanes Meat Locker is any indication, it looks like we’re in for some fun dining experiences ahead.