The three of us arrived at Deane's in downtown Belfast and the chef/owner has several establishments here as well as all over town, but you enter through his crowded and very basic fish restaurant next door to gain access to EIPIC, his temple of gastronomy. We were led through a door into a den of zen quiet and silver and gray tones with only about 10 tables. Only one other table for two was occupied that night, so we got top service from Didier who explained that everything is a fixed menu and we should simply advise of any allergies or such. It was smooth sailing through the night for us in the bright room lit with a full wall of glass to the street and hung with heavy silver/gray drapes, a dark gray slate floor, three huge oddly 3-d nest like silver discs on one wall that had overhead lights looking like aliens. A giant glass wine cellar was at the center of the room and we sat in super comfy white and silver high backed chairs. On the table was a mirrored mason jar with a candle and a vase with black twigs in lack sand; only the music at first was a bit loud and upbeat, but it often mellowed.
Hildon water from England was poured (well this is Northern Ireland and hence part of Great Britain)
Amuse #1 arrived and we all gobbled up the Phyllo Tart of Heritage (heirloom) Tomato with a hint of Balsamic
Breads arrived and we could not decide, but neither the brown bread, whole wheat or white roll here won any prizes. Abernathy Butter was an Irish butter dream come true.
Amuse #2 was a Shellfish Ice Cream with Parmesan Crisp and Parmesan Foam which could have won a prize for sure, not mention that since Samuel doesn't like seafood, he got fried string beans to dip in his own parmesan foam. While we had wine pairings, Samuel had his own drinks and started with a Pineapple/Lime Juice with a big foam head.
Amuse #3 was a Roasted Sweet Corn Soup for Samuel and for us a Broad Bean, Courgettes, Spring Onion, Peas, Ham & cream dish with Brown Butter Dressing and an egg yolk on top with sea salt. This was so many deys and only a memory, so I can't seem to recall it much.
The wine arrived in the form of a Terraprima 2012 Xarelto from Pinedes, Spain, Massis del Garraf and all the different wines were in Riedel; another plus. It was a light almost effervescent type for the Smoked & Pickled Beetroot Salad with both Golden & Red beets, a cone filled with goat curd and a salted Hazelnut Crumble. Samuel had never tried beets before, and declared that he would eat them for sure if I made them this way!
Didier always arrived right before each course with the wine and everything moved smoothly so well, we were impressed. Next came a 2014 Domaine Fiumicicoli Vermentino from Sartene in Corsica which he said had hints of cranberry/raspberry and nutmeg; boy was he right and with a smoky mineralness that was in so many layers and extremely herbaceous. The second course was Lobster with Grilled Corn, Young Samphire in a sweet corn puree/soup with a Lobster Cake. This was one of our favorite dishes from Chef Danielle Barry (yes, a woman) who runs the show here. Samuel had grilled zucchini and beans in a chive/mint dressing.
Third course was Panfried Hake with Dublin Queen Potatoes in a super rich and thick roasted fish bone sauce with Sea Purslaine, Sea Ashers and Arrowglass as well as chives and chervil. The greens were simply novel and amazing, but the fish and its sauce shone bright; we have come to love hake on this trip. Samuel had the most beautiful Dublin Queen Potato, Grilled charred Onion, Ham Foam, and Grated Truffle. Our wine was a Serbian 2012 Riesling called Istina from Bongiraud(a French winemaker) that was unfiltered and had the scariest nse, but went well with the food (we did not like it to drink alone).
A 2013 Australian Nebbiolo arrived next from Trentham called "La Famiglia," from the Murray Darling region that I have never heard of. It had huge legs with smoked strawberry or jelly hints. Quail and its stocl and sauce with Celeriac, BBQ Sweetheart Cabbage and a Cumin-Coriander dressing gave this glazed bird (a hint of honey & soy) a superb and bold flavor.
The main dish was Salt Aged Ribeye Fillet with Garlic & Parsley Spelt with Garlic Scapes. Chanterelles & Scottish Girolles were also in company so we could see the difference up close; both were superb. Vesevo Benentano Aglianico 2012 from Campagnia was divine
A palate cleanser of Granita -looking but not ices made from buttermilk mousse and ice brown buttermilk with biscuit crunch was a novel fun dish.
Dessert #1 was Strawberry & Meadows Sweet (I had never heard of this white flower) iced tea foam which was oddly bitter.
A 2012 Les Charmes Celeste from Chateau Boucasse, Pacherenc Moelleux was a nice dessert wine but a bit too acidic and strawberry for me (that made sense in the pairing though).
Dessert #2 was Strawberry Curd, Mousse and Ice Cream with Meringue & Strawberry Crumble. On the side was a Strawberry Cream donut that was sugar dusted and MeadowSweet Cream
and finally Desser #3 was Chocolate Cone with Goat's Milk Ice cream, buttermilk foam and crumbled chocolate.
When the bill arrived I was in shock that the entire food portion of the experience was 60 pounds each or about $95 which could never happen in any big city. But Deane's Eipic, is a one of a kind experience in the whole of Northern Ireland and not to be missed.