Cast & Crew, Belfast

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Connie McKenna gets up close with Samson and Goliath and a fish finger sandwich.

Gourmet grub for truckers and builders is the ideal definition for this modern ‘Belfastonian’ shack, called Cast & Crew, restaurateur Niall McKenna’s latest culinary adventure in Belfast’s Docklands. 

The secret pleasure in seeing a pair of tattooed arms lovingly dress a burger plate, mixes with the proximity of being around one of the world’s most recognised and iconic shipyards. I mean, who doesn’t want to enjoy being under the monumental giants of Samson and Goliath whilst struggling to select a burger from the sublime meat lover’s menu of Cast & Crew, not to mention that there are two burgers named after the two Belfast giants themselves! 

A fish finger sandwich is even proudly announced on the menu. It takes a brave kitchen to review the humble fish finger, of which a certain demographic of us may have fond childhood memories, and to work to make it ‘beautified.’ 

Call it Bloke Food, hungover student grub, or even mimicked attempts at putting food together as you did when you were a child without your mother or father’s supervised kitchen wisdom. However, some gorgeous salads and soups feature on the menu, so a balance of eating through wisdom and enjoyment is also here in C&C. The soups here are also worthy of note. The very notion of a plain vegetable soup is enough to make the selective eater fall sound asleep on the the kitchen table. But Cast and Crew understand this, and to our utmost delight produce soups with formidable little personalities. 

Belfast is pushing the limits when it comes to speciality cooking. Sometimes you feel as though you could be in New York, other times it is through a development of a certain individualism which makes us want to give the Ulster capital a bear hug, for doing its own thing. In the past, butchery, tea brewing and bakery was what defined the nation’s perspective on food culture. Luckily, Mother Belfast has held onto those artisanal qualities, and it only gets better and better. Cast and Crew modestly state what Belfast is all about, if not a little better, and a little bit louder.