Restaurateur Niall McKenna and his award-winning team are celebrating after James Street South was named Northern Ireland’s restaurant of the year in the 2015 Waitrose Good Food Guide, and Cathedral Quarter new-comer Hadskis made the list for the first time.
James Street South fought off stiff competition from others in Northern Ireland to scoop the win for the region. Hadskis – which only opened in October last year – will also feature in the prestigious guide.
Niall McKenna, chef and owner of James Street South, The Bar+Grill and Hadskis, was delighted to win the award, commenting: “This hugely-important award win couldn’t come at a better time for us. We are about to execute a series of exciting new plans and investments over the next few months, which will see us unveil a brand new look for the restaurant and kitchen. We’re also about to take on eight new apprentices in our kitchen in association with Belfast Metropolitan College.
“We’re thrilled that customers have taken time to vote us ‘Best Restaurant in Northern Ireland’, and that Hadskis has also been recognised as one of the best restaurants here. We’re so pleased that our focus on quality, innovative cooking, locally-sourced produce, great staff and a warm ambiance have made such an impression,” said Niall.
This year, more than 30,000 members of the public submitted nominations for their favourite restaurants in the awards. The Good Food Guide verifies all the nominations before picking ten regional winners who represent some of the best local dining experiences to be had around the country.
To qualify for the awards, aimed at championing neighbourhood eateries, restaurants needed to be independently run and offer regional or local produce where possible.
Elizabeth Carter, Consultant Editor of The Good Food Guide, added: Ten-year-old James Street South woos Belfast diners with French-inspired technique, fabulous flavours and fine produce and is quite simply one of Belfast’s best restaurants. It’s complemented by first-rate staff, a stylish dining room that revels in its relaxed atmosphere – what’s not to love?’ Once again Niall McKenna and his team deserve the award of the Good Food Guide Readers’ Restaurant of the Year for Northern Ireland.”
The Readers’ Restaurant of the Year Awards celebrates local restaurants, pubs and cafés, as nominated by members of the public. Each winning restaurant will feature in the 2015 edition of the guide, which will be published in September 2014.