Category Archives: News

Major Structural Work Underway

From 1st April 2019 Holohans Pantry will be suspending it’s lunch service until further notice to allow major structural repairs and roof replacement to take place on it’s listed building at 43 University Road, Belfast.

We apologise to all our lunch time customers for any inconvenience caused.

We will shortly add a Tuesday evening dinner service and extended trading hours on Sunday through until 9.30pm (last bookings 7.30pm) in advance of the busy summer trading period ahead.

What The Belfast Telegraph has to say about Holohan’s Pantry

For all the talk of Belfast’s rich maritime history there are remarkably few harbour-facing restaurants or bars in the city. Apart from Cutter’s Wharf, which is way up river in Stranmillis, and one floating restaurant near Lanyon Place, I can’t think of any bar or restaurant with a water-facing view. Ox and Tedford’s may be a few yards from the banks of the Lagan, but once you’re at your table you can’t see the river.

Holohan's Pantry

For gourmand aquaphiles, Holohan’s restaurant on board the old Dutch barge moored up behind the Waterfront Hall has everything. You’re on the water, there are plenty of views up and down this wide bend in the river and the food’s good.

Calvin Holohan (with help from his mum, brother, sister and a seemingly endless supply of willing cousins) opened the floating restaurant almost three years ago following the implementation of a business plan he put together while he was a student at the Ulster Business School.

The restaurant’s success is down to a unique menu of Irish food featuring boxty at its heart. Comparable to flatbreads, or crepes, boxty is a potato and buttermilk wonder, which is nutritious, tasty and the foundation stone for any number of interpretations.

It has proven so popular that the family has gone onshore and opened a second restaurant, Holohan’s Pantry.

The new restaurant is close to Queen’s University and next to Villa Italia, occupying the former Drennan’s. The cosy little two-storey, early-Victorian house has been adapted sympathetically and its interior eschews recent trends for post-apocalypse chic, settling instead for something more comforting.

There are touches of your granny’s parlour, an old Belfast pub and the Linen Hall Library in Holohan’s Pantry. The huge gilt-framed mirrors provide light and airiness in the cleverly maximised space. It’s a good restaurant in which to eat alone at lunchtime. Somehow, it feels right to be here on your own with a newspaper, just as it would with friends and family.

The simple menu reflects the proven formula from the barge. There are breakfast items here, although having tried to open at 8am and found very few takers, Holohan’s now opens at 12.

Nonetheless, Irish porridge with an assortment of compotes, fruit, cinnamon and apple, brandy-soaked raisins, or whiskey and honey, sounds like a decent early lunch to me.
So do the buttermilk pancakes with whipped Young Buck blue cheese, smoked bacon and heather honey. Holohan’s full Irish features beans, poached eggs, leek and herb sausage, potato farls, smoked bacon, Clonakilty black pudding and onion jam; or Leitrim boxty served with scrambled egg and chive and the option of adding smoked salmon.

Lunch proper is a short list of top Irish dishes. Calvin Holohan is an expert on Ireland’s culinary history and passionate about airing its richness. His approach is meticulous, so you can be pretty certain of the authenticity of the dishes like the chowder with cod, hake, salmon and mussels; the boiled boxty dumplings served with roast squash puree, local organic vegetables and herb oil; or the braised feather-blade of beef, truffle mash and organic vegetables.

Boxty of the day is filled with a luxurious creamy mix of ham hock and mustard-seed sauce. This is warm, rich, instantly filling and very robust. The accompanying selection of heritage carrots and parsnips is nothing short of a winter sensation and the dressed green salad counters any hint of heaviness.

This is the kind of Irish cooking we don’t know enough about.

I have yet to find a beer or lager with the right balance of flavours and weight to have with your lunch, but now surely is the time for a microbrewer to work with the Holohans to create one. This kind of food deserves a good chaser.

A chocolate fudge brownie with white chocolate snow and Kilbeggan whiskey ice cream is a lesson in rich textures and depths of flavours without knocking you out for the rest of the afternoon.

Holohan’s is a great asset to Belfast. If you’re visiting Ireland and want to taste something which belongs to much older times, but has all the appeal of modern cooking, you really couldn’t go past it.

The bill:

Boxty of the day – £6.50

Brownie and ice cream – £4.50

Espresso – £1.80

Sparkling water – £2.20

Total – £15.00

The following can be read on the Belfast Telegraph Website

Holohans wins Business Start Up of the Year at the 2015 Northern Ireland Enterprise Awards!

After a sweet year of success, the stars of the local enterprise sector were celebrated at the annual Enterprise Northern Ireland awards, held at the Hilton Hotel in Belfast last night. Hosted by broadcaster Claire McCollum, the glittering evening showcased the work done by the Northern Ireland small business community and the efforts of the local enterprise agency network in supporting business development.


The event was opened with an address from Patsy McGlone MLA and the audience also enjoyed an engaging and inspiring presentation from Tom Griffiths, founder of, who is widely regarded as the creator of the modern gap year industry.

There were many worthy winners but the top award, for Business Start Up of the Year, was scooped by Holohan’s at the Barge, a family owned restaurant moored next to the Waterfront in Belfast. It was a keenly contested category, in which the judges were looking for a business owner who demonstrated passion and enthusiasm and who had set up a business that could demonstrate sustainability in the long term. The judges were particularly impressed by how Holohans had developed the restaurant concept into an overall consumer experience and at the same time providing training and employment for over 20 people in the Belfast area. Holohans is taking the catering sector to the next level.