1 Michelin Star Chefs: Gareth McCaughey, chef owner, The Muddlers Club

The Staff Canteen

Gareth McCaughey is the chef owner of The Muddlers Club, one of three one Michelin-starred restaurants in belfast.

Born in Co Tyrone, Donaghmore in 1977, Gareth originally trained as a pastry chef, returning to Ireland to help open James Street South with Niall McKenna.

He then took on a head chef positon at Barking Dog, spent two years as the sous chef of Michelin-starred OX restaurant with Stephen Toman (who he met at James Street) before he left to open The Muddlers Club. 

The Muddlers Club


1 Warehouse Ln, Belfast BT1 2DX

Telephone: 028 9031 3199

Website: https://www.themuddlersclubbelfast.com

Reservations:  resdiary.com

Opening hours:


12–2:30pm, 5:30–10pm



Twitter: @TheMuddlersClub


Instagram: @muddlersclubbelfast


Facebook: @Themuddlersclubbelfast

The restaurant

The Muddlers Club, inconspiciously located in a back alley in Belfast's Cathedral Quarter - was named after a revolutionary secret society linked to the United Irishmen that met in the area in the 1790s.

The 52-cover modern bistro and cocktail bar was two years in the making, but got off to a booming start, winning two awards in the Irish Restaurant Awards within six months of opening in 2015.

It has since won several more, as well as featuring in the Good Food Guide and receiving a commendation in the Irish Food and Wine Awards 2018.

The location itself gives it a gritty edge, aided by the graffiti on the facade.

Inside, the open kitchen, atmospheric lighting, dark colour schemeand well-stocked bar add to the restaurant's informal ambiance. 

Food at The Muddlers Club

The city centre restaurant is one of a handful of restaurants switching up the city's dining scene, embracing a casual approach to fine dining. 

At lunchtime, customers can choose between a la carte or tasting menu, but the evening is tasting menu only. The offering is changed according to the seasons and what the chef's handful of local suppliers have to offer.

At £55 (or £50 for the vegetarian version) a wine flight costs £35, or £50 for a 'prestige pairing.' The restaurant's cocktail list is extensive, many reminiscent of 1930s-era bars during the US prohibition. 



What the guides say




The chef's approach to food is simple: he takes good, local ingredients and makes them shine. 

His beginnings as a pastry chef mean that unlike many restaurants, dessert isn't an afterthought at The Muddlers Club. 

Specialities include Antrim beef with carrot, short rib and bone marrow; scallop with artichoke and parmsean; halibut with bisque and greens and yuzu with earl grey and white chocolate.

Local food critic Allison Morris said she visited the restaurant on several occasions since it opened in 2015, but that somehow its already high standard had been raised when she returned in 2019. 

She said: "There is a maturity to Muddlers now, a confidence in cooking simple ingredients in an expert way that only a chef comfortable in his own skin can pull off."

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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 18th January 2021

1 Michelin Star Chefs: Gareth McCaughey, chef owner, The Muddlers Club