It has been top of its game for 20 years, and this weekend, after seven months of closure, a £1m refit, building expansion and company rebrand, SHU Restaurant in Belfast is back in business.
The multi-award-winning eatery originally opened in October 2000, and since lockdown, the team has worked hard with local fit-out company, McCue, to complete a redesign of the entire building, including expansion into the neighbouring property.
Incorporating three different style elements under one roof- SHU, The Upper House and Jul’s with new extended opening hours to include Sundays – the new SHU boasts a dining experience and space to suit every taste and occasion.
SHU remains on the main ground floor, with the bright and airy top floor extension now known as The Upper House designed for flexible private events, while the atmospheric basement has been relaunched as Jul’s.
Once music restrictions lift, Jul’s will have DJ performances on Friday and Saturday evenings, providing laid backbeats to dine to, then, stepping up the tempo into later evening. The new Sunday afternoon offering will focus on live jazz played on the house piano, providing a relaxing and chilled vibe.
The Upper House is now a private event space with two rooms: The Club Room and the Board Room, with sliding doors between them that allow the space to become one larger room.
Alan Reid, co-owner and founder of SHU said: “The last seven months have been a complete roller coaster ride, but myself, Brian and the entire team, many of whom are celebrating their own 20-year anniversary with us, are elated to finally get to this point.
“We had the vision for the new SHU for several years, but the timing never seemed right. When lockdown came, we seized the opportunity and the fantastic team at McCue have really pulled it out of the bag.
“Opening during such uncertainty will undoubtedly have its challenges and we want to thank our loyal customers for supporting us over this weekend – which was fully booked at all sittings.
“We hope that whatever announcements come this week, features a robust financial plan from the Executive for businesses like ours who quite simply have everything on the line.”
Brian McCann, Head Chef and co-owner of SHU continued: “This refit and expansion is a sign of the strength of our brand and the local hospitality sector in general and the finished product has exceeded all of our expectations.
“Our opening weekend was a huge success, with many familiar faces supporting us as we reemerge after a busy few months of hard work. I would like to thank the fantastic team at McCue for their professionalism and dedication to getting us to this point.”
Andrew Bradley, Site Manager, McCue said: “The team at SHU are to be commended for such a brave move during such an uncertain time in the hospitality sector.
“They have been a fantastic client for us and a pleasure to work in partnership with to bring their vision to life.
“The ‘New SHU’ is set to be a game-changer for the local hospitality market in Belfast and we wish them every success for the future.”
Since launching SHU has scooped a clutch of prestigious awards for its innovative, modern French-inspired cuisine, including Best Restaurant in Northern Ireland at the National Restaurant Awards in 2012, 2013 and 2014.
Described by Tom Parker Bowles as ‘seriously good’, SHU currently holds two AA Rosettes and is listed in the Michelin Guide.