Brand new look for James Street stalwart

Award-winning chef and entrepreneur, Niall McKenna has just opened his newest restaurant venture this week.

The owner and head chef of James Street South Group – and the current holder of LCN’s Restaurant of the Year title – officially opened ‘James St.’ today (September 7). That’s the new name for a brand new ‘bistronomy’ experience and the result of a £300,000 refurbishment of Niall’s two iconic restaurants on the city centre site.

The two restaurants – James Street Bar + Grill and James Street South Restaurant – closed in early July as part of a significant two-month refurbishment and have been transformed under one roof to accommodate a burgeoning demand from local and global visitors for a more bistro-style, all-day dining experience.

The new-look venue will provide diners with a unique culinary experience which puts talent, quality and provenance at its heart.

Niall McKenna opened his first landmark James Street South restaurant in 2003, leading a local revolution in classic cooking using seasonal, local produce. The neighbouring Bib Gourmand award-winning Bar + Grill opened in 2011 and the new James St will strengthen the already thriving hub in Belfast’s Linen Quarter.

Amalgamating the entire floor space of both restaurants, the new eatery provides seating for up to 90 customers in a relaxed and contemporary setting which will include a bar area and an enlarged kitchen space.

Niall said: “After setting the restaurant quality and service standard for Belfast more than 15 years ago with James Street South, I’m thrilled to be introducing a new hospitality experience to a new generation of discerning diners in an exciting, contemporary setting they will instantly enjoy.”

He added that he thought the time was “absolutely right” to combine the restaurants’ strengths into one flagship venue at the group’s most established location.

“Less formal but retaining all our best features, this all-day dining restaurant has a brand-new menu which champions creativity and local, artisanal produce with a fresh choice of classic dishes which our customers have come to expect.”

The new venture will support up to 35 full and part-time jobs.

In June, Niall also announced plans to open a new cookery school in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter.

The dedicated cookery school, which will accommodate groups of up to 18 at any one time, forms part of a new and extensive regeneration development within the area, currently spearheaded by Commercial Court Inns Limited, which owns the Harp Bar, Duke of York and Dark Horse pubs.

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