Award-winning chef Niall McKenna has opened Waterman Restaurant in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter.
The new 50-seater restaurant at Waterman House comes as part of strategic plans to create a large-scale hospitality hub at the Grade B listed building on Hill Street, which is already home to Niall’s thriving Waterman House Cookery School.
The acclaimed restaurateur and entrepreneur purchased the building at 5-23 Hill Street in2018 as part of an investment in Belfast city centre, relocating the former James Street South Cookery School, previously housed within the popular James Street restaurant.
As well as the cookery school, which opened last summer, and the new Waterman restaurant, the old Bushmills bonded warehouse is also home to conference and event spaces.
Niall, a proud champion for Northern Ireland’s tourism and hospitality sector, said: “Waterman House is an iconic building in one of Belfast’s finest architectural locations, and we’re thrilled to announce that Waterman opens under the same roof as our Waterman House Cookery School. We hope our plans for an exciting, creative hub in the heart of the Cathedral Quarter can help breathe new life into this vibrant part of the city, and we believe it’s the perfect spot for a new culinary venture.
“Customers will enjoy a relaxed atmosphere and excellent classic European-style cuisine made with quality local produce. What people want more than ever is quality food and great service, and that’s what we will deliver at Waterman.
“Like cities across the world, Belfast has faced many challenges over the last few years, but as we look to the future we’re excited to play our part in cementing its status as a top destination for local, national and international visitors with this exciting new step at Waterman House.”
The new restaurant opens as Niall and the team close the doors at Hadksis on Commercial Court, although the entrepreneur will retain the lease with plans for the venue to be confirmed at a later date. The same award-winning team will move directly across to Waterman, with plans to add new staff in the coming months.
Former James Street apprentice and head chef at Hadskis Aaron McNeice has been appointed head chef at Waterman. He added: “I am really excited for the opening of Waterman. I think it’s going to be a great addition to the Cathedral Quarter. I think the people of Belfast will be very interested in what we have to offer with the restaurant, event spaces as well as our cookery school. I’m very excited to be given this opportunity, a new restaurant in a great location and I can’t wait to get stuck in.”
Since opening in 2003, restaurants within the James Street South Group of restaurants have been recognised for food and service excellence by the Michelin guide, the Waitrose Food Guide, Food & Wine Magazine and in the prestigious Georgina Campbell awards.