I have to admit I was fairly sure Belfast had exhausted every Titanic related revenue opportunity conceivable. With thousands of tourists flocking to The Titanic Quarter in Belfast on a daily basis it seemed odd that this neck of the woods was poorly served however when it came to accommodation options.
The Titanic is a monument to Belfast’s maritime heritage on the site of the former Harland & Wolff shipyard in the city’s Titanic Quarter where the now infamous RMS Titanic was built. Being one of the busiest visitor attraction in Northern Ireland it makes perfect sense that when an opportunity to acquire an old shipbuilding office right next door presented itself the company behind this mammoth attraction saw it as a chance to really transform the space.
After over eighteen months of extensive renovation and building works were completed like a phoenix from the ashes rose The Titanic Hotel Belfast. A project steeped in history the hotel has been designed with nautical theme in mind including authentic White Star Line memorabilia.
Exhibiting over 500 artworks and photographs throughout the building The Titanic Hotel is unlike any other you will come across in the city, one that any history buff will utterly adore. The floor tiles on the ground floor were identical to those used in Titanic’s first class smoking room. The steel beam and rivets, decorative plasterwork, tiles and joinery are all still present in this striking location where old meets new.
At this stage I have stayed in almost every hotel the city has to offer and dining options can be hit and miss. Word on the grapevine was that an impressive team was in place in the kitchen under the competent hand of Nigel Mannion and Joery Castel who’s food we reviewed a few years back and were suitably impressed by both his creativity and charm.
General Manager Adrian McNally has come from the nearby five star Culloden Estate and Spa and has placed a huge emphasis on hiring international experienced staff that all have you that Northern warmth that somehow seems unique to these parts.
As we walked through the visual treasure trove of original artefacts to our room we amazed at the level of detail that has gone into this project. Rooms vary in price and size however styling is similar throughout art deco furniture, unique maritime artwork and all the usual mod cons.
Our room was one of the newer executive rooms, which are more spacious and all have views of the Titanic Experience. Bathrooms are fashioned with geometric floor tiles, old-fashioned sinks and high-pressure drench showers that sooth the soul.
Lunch and dinner options are available in the more casual setting of the Drawing Office Two, this breathtaking room is where many of the world’s most famous ocean liners, including RMS Titanic, were painstakingly designed. Perfect for a light bite or a cocktail at the bar after dinner.
Our destination for the evening was The Wolff Grill, which given the fine dining feel to the room and indeed the menu seems like an odd choice of names. Dishes have a contemporary edge to them which makes a for a refreshing change to boring, uninspiring hotel food that you can often experience in soulless dining spaces.
Starters listed ranged from Charred Cod and Oyster Cream with Irish Caviar to Coconut Arancini, Green Curry and Pickled Cabbage. Our first taste of Titanic was a sublime Tea Smoked Duck, slivers of duck, beetroot, candied walnuts and a vibrant beetroot caviar made plain sailing of our opening act.
Across the table my companion had an enviable plate of plump little Scallops, perfectly seared in plenty of butter (more the merrier), surrounded with pickled apple, pancetta, apple sorbet and a smearing of pea puree that lubricated the plate beautifully — well balanced flavours and impressive presentation, clearly food here is a serious priority rather than an after thought.
Sometimes veggie options can be the most inventive on a menu … sometimes. Here they made a good effort to offer up something different so we tried the Poached White Asparagus, three runny hen’s eggs perched proudly among them with a small helping of slightly underdone saffron potatoes which was a pity as the rest of the dish showed great promise.
Luckily my main was outstanding, Monkfish, curried beurre noisette, sweet potato puree with a crunchy tempura of broccoli all artfully plated. We paired with a fantastic Reisling – Kung Fu Girl from Washington State based on our very helpful server on the night, Norbert who impressed with his extensive wine knowledge and warm service.
To have dessert or not to have dessert that is never the question … always leave a little room for something sweet. They had me at White Chocolate Pot, throw in raspberry, sprinklings of pickled ginger and some lime and peanut fudge and you have a little winner.
We finished the evening with a generous Irish cheese board which came with an interesting Guinness chutney which I will most definitely endeavour to replicate.
With full bellies we enjoyed a restful sleep and woke to a very decent breakfast the next morning before taking the short two minute walk over to experience The Titanic Centre for ourselves.
The Titanic Hotel Belfast ticks many boxes, family friendly, great location for the business traveller and a wealth of history for a visiting tourist, but for us it ticked all culinary boxes for anyone looking to experience a quality dining experience in a very unique setting.
Overnight with B&B, including a three course dinner starts from €223 per room.
Titanic Hotel Belfast
Belfast BT3 9DT
T: +44 (0)28 9508 2000
Jules Mahon is the Co-Founder and Editor of TheTaste. A WSET qualified wine expert, Jules loves exploring hidden gems and unearthing the best culinary experiences Ireland has to offer in addition to eating her way around the globe.
Championing the Irish Food scene and all of its stars, both at home and abroad is huge passion for her and her team of talented food writers.