Thursday 29 September 2016

24 hours in Derry: A flying foodie break in the Maiden City

Northern Ireland's Year of Food & Drink

Published 06/03/2016 | 02:30

Kevin Pyke of Pyke n' Pommes, Derry. Photo: Pól Ó Conghaile
Kevin Pyke of Pyke n' Pommes, Derry. Photo: Pól Ó Conghaile
Ulster Fry
People's gallery Derry
Peace Bridge Derry
Brown's Restaurant in Derry. Photo: Pól Ó Conghaile

Our Travel Editor finds plenty to write home about during a foodie visit to Northern Ireland's second city.

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10am: Breakfast at Beech Hill

The Ulster Fry (see gallery above) ain't gonna set Michelin pulses racing, but when it's done well, there's no better start to a day.

Patsy O'Kane's Beech Hill House serves breakfast overlooking a trickling stream and mill wheel, with a cheerful, country house charm. Occasionally fusty, always personable, it was Georgina Campbell's Hotel of the Year 2015.

Details: beech-hill.com; heritage doubles from €48pp

2pm: The People's Gallery

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Derry is like a mini-Dubrovnik, with spectacularly intact city walls hemming in a hilltop location over the Foyle. A tour is one thing (derrycitytours.com), but don't stop at its short overview of the Bogside's murals.

A mere fiver buys you a walkabout with one of the three artists who painted the People's Gallery - an up-close and personal look at the 12 murals and the stories behind them. It's a unique immersion that goes way beyond the tourist brochures.

Details: bogsideartists.com; tours from £5/€6.30pp

5pm: Hit the street (food)

Derry has got a pep in its step, with new openings like Bishop's Gate Hotel and the Walled City Brewery stoking momentum since its stint as UK City of Culture 2013.

One of the brightest sparks is Pyke 'n' Pommes (pictured, top) a food truck dishing up sizzling street fare by the Foyle off Strand Road.

Try a LegenDerry burger, or the Notoriou$ P.I.G (£6/€7.50), a sumptuous mix of slow-roasted pork, spicy 'slaw and beetroot crème fraiche in a Lebanese flat bread wrap. In quick sharp time, Kevin Pyke has become a lunchtime legend.

Details: @KevinPyke; Tues-Thurs, 12-3pm; Fri/Sat, 12/5pm

8pm: Chow down at Browns

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Browns restaurant on Bonds Hill is the go-to spot for fine dining in Derry, with set menu prices that wouldn't buy a main course in similar spots in Dublin.

Chef Phelim O'Hagan is the young star of the kitchen here, and the detail, presentation and craft in his tasting menus is the real deal.

From tender game to ribbons of turf-smoked beef served with a nutty Kilcreen cheddar cheese, this is seriously well-executed fare.

Walk dinner off with a stroll across the city's Peace Bridge.

Details: brownsrestaurant.com; three courses from £21.95/€28

Get there

Derry is 3hrs 15mins from Dublin via the N2/A5. CityWing flights are expected in April. See also visitderry.com and discovernorthernireland.com.

Irish Independent

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