The food and drink scene is flourishing alongside the giant spirit of Northern Ireland, and around every corner exciting restaurants and unique food trails offer rich gastronomic experiences.
There is so much happening on the food and drink front in Northern Ireland that it can be hard keeping up. Local producers and artisan suppliers are thriving, while new restaurants and inventive chefs keep coming up with accomplished menus that invariably tell a story.
New places to awaken your tastebuds include The Rabbit restaurant, burrowed into the heart of the picturesque village of Templepatrick, County Antrim.
Part of The Rabbit Hotel, the laid-back little sister to the celebrated Galgorm Resort and Spa, this new dining hotspot exudes sass in a slickly designed interior. With a menu inspired by the American Deep South, featuring seasonal, local produce and the finest cuts of meat, The Rabbit is the perfect eatery for couples, friends and families.
Meanwhile leading chef and restaurateur Niall McKenna has opened the Waterman House Cookery School in the heart of Belfast’s buzzing Cathedral Quarter. Occupying the ground floor space of an old Bushmills bonded warehouse, the expansive new cookery school will safely accommodate groups of up to 18 with state-of-the art work stations and the latest kitchen equipment.
Along with the cookery school, Niall and his team are launching a brand new street food offering in the courtyard outside the warehouse. Le Four will serve up fresh, made-to-order stone-baked pizzas from a converted Land Rover Defender and will incorporate an outdoor dining space.
Elsewhere, The Cuan in the beautiful Strangford village on the edge of Strangford Lough, County Down, is under new ownership and has had extensive renovations. This place was a haunt of Game of Thrones® cast members in its early seasons, and there are plenty of ‘Thrones’ locations and attractions nearby. Being on the coast, The Cuan has an excellent supply of seafood in dishes such as Kilkeel crab linguini, with ground fennel, chilli and parsley.
Also in County Down, Hinch Distillery is an impressive new food and drink destination. Here, trained guides will bring you on an interactive journey through the history of Irish whiskey and gin, which ends with tutored tastings. The on-site Hinch Brasserie headed up by chef Leo Small, offers a menu flavoured with the distillery’s spirits, including delicious Ninth Wave Gin-cured salmon with buttermilk blini, lemon butter and caviar crème fraiche.
The Copper Tap and 1806 have also opened in Omagh, County Tyrone. This premium bar and restaurant has a passion for design and travel as well as food and drink. Sourcing locally from farmers and producers they know and trust, exceptional service and hospitality is at the heart of the offering.
When it comes to food trails, tours and experiences, look out for Taste and Tour in Belfast. With its signature Belfast Food Tour, Gin Jaunt and Belfast Bites Tour, among others, it can take you through the city’s brightest and best flavours.
You can also discover all the taste and beauty the famous Causeway Coastal Route has to offer by boat, luxury small coach, private chauffeur and by foot with Causeway Foodie Tours, or top off a trip to the stunning lakelands of County Fermanagh with the Enniskillen Taste Experience.
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