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Niall McKenna opens new Cathedral Quarter culinary venture Waterman

Niall McKenna (centre) outside his new Waterman restaurant with Cathal Duncan (left), Waterman House Cookery School chef, and Aaron McNeice (right), new head chef at Waterman.

ONE of Belfast’s best known chefs has opened a new restaurant in the heart of the city’s Cathedral Quarter.

Waterman is the new fine dining offering from Niall McKenna.

The new 50-seater venue, which opened on Hill Street on Friday evening, builds on the James Street South proprietor’s successful Waterman Cookery School, which opened last year.

Mr McKenna bought the listed Waterman House building, which was historically used as a Bushmills bonded warehouse, in 2018.

Alongside a new fine dining experience, the venue is also home to conference and event spaces.

It comes as a chef closed the book on the nearby Hadskis restaurant last Saturday after nine years.

Mr McKenna confirmed he has held onto the lease of the premises in the iconic Commercial Court, with plans to be announced for a new venture at a later date.

All current staff will move to Waterman, with plans to add new staff in the coming months.

“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,” said the restaurateur.

“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.”

Niall McKenna (left) with Cathal Duncan (centre), Waterman House Cookery School chef, and Aaron McNeice (right), new head chef at Waterman.

Former James Street apprentice and head chef at Hadskis, Aaron McNeice, has been appointed head chef at Waterman.

“I am really excited for the opening of Waterman,” he said. “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.”

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