Northern Ireland’s big year of food and drink gets the classy monument it deserves.
First things first: Belfast on a Plate: A flavour of the city in recipes and stories is a thing of beauty, a most gorgeous book. Produced by David Pauley and his team at The Studio Publishing Company, the book does full justice to the powerful creativity that powers the city’s dining culture, and it captures the energy, the sweat, and the sexiness that makes Belfast such an exciting place to eat.
The book culls recipes from 20 of the city’s hottest chefs, from veterans such as Andy Rea and Simon McCance to the young blades like Danni Barry and Gareth McCaughey. Seeing all these dudes lined up, one after the other, you realise that Belfast has built its culinary strength through culinary depth: these guys and girls are talented, and they are young. When it comes to eating in Belfast, you realise that the best is yet to come, and that is a tantalising and thrilling prospect.
The other good news is that whilst Belfast on a Plate is a book of chef’s recipes, the recipes are approachable and do-able: there is nothing faffy and silly here, and a domestic cook with a decent technique will pull off a plethora of these wonderful plates. Joanna Braniff's text is like good cooking itself: clean, clear and crisp.
2016 has been Northern Ireland’s Year of Food & Drink, and such a significant year needed a monument for posterity. Belfast on a Plate is that monument.
Belfast on a Plate is priced at £25 and will be available to buy from all the featured restaurants, in good bookshops and on Amazon.