Belfast's Culinary Arts Match The Arts Festival
One of the highlights of Belfast's calendar of events is the annual Belfast Festival at Queens, which presents a wide range of performing arts from opera and ballet to fusion music concerts, innovative theatrical performances, and stand-up comedy. The main venues for Festival events are the Waterfront Hall and the newly refurbished Ulster Hall, brought back to life in an authentic recreation of as it was when it first opened in 1862. The interior and acoustics are superb for musical events such as modern pianist Ludovico Einaudi, one of the Festival's featured artists in 2009.
Conveniently located on Bedford Street, just south of Donnell Square, Ulster Hall is around the corner from one of Belfast's most impressive restaurant experiences, Deanes. With a newly opened seafood bar offering a casual space to complement the fine dining that has made Michael Deane a star on the Belfast cuiscene since he opened his eponymous space in 1993, Deanes offers the kind of culinary experience that people remember for a long time afterward. As a venue for special occasions or daily sybaritism, Deanes is impressive. As in all restaurants of special note, the food, however excellent, is only part of the show. At Deanes, the dining room is appealing in a minimalist style accented by objets d'art around the room and on the tables themselves. Once greeted and seated by the impossibly handsome Humberto, the staff, impeccably trained, take pleasure in their jobs in making your night your finest dining experience in the city.
The cavalcade of temptations offered on the current dinner menu begins with such locally sourced dishes as velouté of celeriac served over truffles and wild mushrooms to Finnebrogue venison, a product of one of Ireland's most lauded purveyors of meat. The cheese trolley rolls the best Irish and Continental seasonal selections to your table, but make sure to leave room for desserts like the exquisitely nuanced lychee rose blackberry parfait. Chef Derek Creagh certainly knows how to work a roomful of fresh ingredients into a roomful of satisfied diners.
When the regrettable but inevitable moment comes and it's time to leave Deanes, a similar calibre of finesse, this time in accommodation, may be found at the Fitzwilliam Hotel, a member of Preferred Hotels, one block away. A recent addition to the Belfast hotel scene, the Fitzwilliam offers a mod alternative to the more traditional hotels of the city. Casual luxury at the Fitzwilliam is at once soothing in its comforts like a CD library and cosy beds, yet stimulating with original touches such as retro-style telephones and vivid colour schemes.
If flying to Dublin in Aer Lingus' admirable Premier Class, travellers will enjoy a high standard of culinary excellence even before arriving in Ireland. Aer Lingus' recent upgrade of its Business Class product has won plaudits from frequent trans-Atlantic passengers enjoying the good food as much as the ergonomic seating and on-demand entertainment.
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: R.L.B