It has been a whirlwind couple of years for Chef Danni Barry, who after taking up the mantle at Michael Deane’s EIPIC in March 2014 landed a Michelin star in September 2015. Having retained the star for the third year running at this year’s Michelin Guide UK and Ireland announcement, Danni has revealed that she has left Belfast’s EIPIC to set up her dream restaurant.
Danni will reopen Clenaghans restaurant in the village of Aghalee in partnership with Stevie and Cristina Higginson of the hugely popular Square Bistro in Lisburn. The picturesque former pub dates back to the 17th century and will house a cosy and an informal eatery ‘where old meets new’, with Danni at the helm.
The menu at Clenaghans is expected to be largely produce driven and casual, with the bold flavours which won Danni her star taking centre stage. With the ethos of “making the most of the ingredients we have around us, and trying to get as much flavour out of them as possible,” both the restaurant menu and more laid back pub fare are sure to draw visitors from far and wide to the village, just outside Moira.
Danni had hinted at ambitions to open her own place with an emphasis on accessible and affordable food in an interview with TheTaste last year, saying:
“I’d really like somewhere that my friends and family could just come to all the time. I love cooking at this level now, but it’s very much special occasion. This is what I want to do now, and it’s always what I wanted to do; but I don’t know if it’s what I want to do forever.”
Danni’s departure from EIPIC sees Chef Alex Green take over her role as head chef and speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Michael Deane thanked chef Danni Barry “for her sterling contribution to Deanes EIPIC over the last four years and for the seamless handover to our recently appointed new head chef at Eipic, Alex Greene”.
Having spent the past year in EIPIC, Greene brings with him a wealth of experience in high end kitchens. Starting out in Deane’s in 2007, Alex moved on to the highly-regarded Petrus and then Claridge’s, both by Gordon Ramsay, followed by Ardmore’s Michelin-starred Cliff House.
We wish Danni and Alex every success in their new ventures and look forward to sampling the exciting cuisine both in Clenaghans and EIPIC under Greene’s stewardship.
For more information on Cleneghans click here.