Shed’s owners draw a Blank with new restaurant
The couple behind the popular Ormeau Road bistro Shed are opening their latest hospitality venue but customers may well draw a Blank when it comes to guessing what they’re about to eat.
The Malone Road restaurant, called Blank, will give guests a list of ingredients but they will only know how they have been bought together by head chef Niall Duffy when presented with each of their five courses in a casual fine-dining experience like no other.
All meals are made from local produce farmed and sourced on the island of Ireland and the hope is that this commitment to local suppliers will help with the bounce back of some of those who were impacted by the pandemic.
Christina and Jonny Taylor, who have made such a success of Shed since taking the reins in 2018, came up with the concept for Blank during lockdown.
Christina told LCN: “Blank, yes. Our crazy lockdown idea! It’s been in our heads for years and it floated to the surface during lockdown when the opportunity for space on the Malone Road arose.
“We know it’s very different but are hoping that people here know us, they know what we’re capable of already and will be open minded-as admittedly, going into a restaurant with a Blank menu and not being able to make any choices and put your dinner in our hands completely is not done on every corner!
“Blank is something that we all really need right now, after pandemic and after Brexit. It’s all about bouncing back. It’s about people from here, produce from here and supporting our own local economy. It’s about showcasing the best that we have on this island.”
As for juggling two venues, Christina said: “We will hop between the two depending on who needs us but we believe in hiring the right people and not micromanaging them. That’s not to say customers won’t see us anymore. We’ve always been very hands-on owners and it is going to stay that way.”
The Blank team will be headed up by New Zealand native Alex Daley as general manager. The trained sommelier with over 15 years’ experience across fine dining will be joined by head chef Niall Duffy who has worked with the likes of Patrick Guilbaud, Gordon Ramsay and teams at The Ritz.
The Blank experience will change depending on availability of produce, and the current ‘Blank List’ includes produce from Draynes Farm in Lisburn, Scott’s Family Farm in County Down, Roaring Water Bay in Cork and Donegal Fisheries, as well as local spirits An Dúlamán Martime Gin and Mourne Dew Distillery’s Kilbroney Gin.
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