Although it may be hard to find without clear directions, this attractive pub and restaurant is an ideal destination for anyone wishing to combine traditional dining in an informal setting with a little literary history.
The Reverend Patrick Bronte (father of the writers Charlotte, Emily and Anne), was born in the nearby village of Drumballyroney, Co Down and he preached and taught in this area before moving to England, so the Bronte sisters’ memorabilia that you’ll find here has a sense of authenticity.
Both the lounge bar and the spacious restaurant are quite traditional and comfortably furnished, with lots of wood, colourful chairs and banquette seating, a cosy stove - and, of course, samples of the Brontes’ work and other memorabilia on display.
Friendly staff are welcoming, and promptly offer the very traditional yet varied à la carte menu, and also perhaps one of a range of special menus available at various times – an early evening menu, a Friday night steak menu (meal for two including a glass of wine each for less than £50), a children’s menu and a Sunday menu are all regulars, and there are occasional menus for special occasions, such as a Valentine’s Menu.
There’s a wide range of popular dishes offered and many are based on locally sourced ingredients, such as Lough Erne lamb shank served on a bed of homemade parsnip mash with a red wine & thyme jus, deep fried Portavogie scampi in a light and crispy herb infused homemade batter (served with tartar sauce or garlic dip) and locally farmed Lissara duck breast served with a rich plum & ginger sauce.
But many people travel here especially for the steaks, and the options listed give enough choice to allow for a good few return visits without repeating the same order.
The house speciality is ‘the famous Bronte prime sirloin steak’, a very traditional dish that is stuffed with a duxelle of shallots and mushrooms, and served with a rich Grand Marnier sauce – although there’s actually a choice of five sauces or garlic butter with all the steak dishes.
The dessert menu continues the feeling of having taken a step back in time with old-fashioned treats like steamed orange pudding with burnt orange jus served with Glastry Farm ice cream among the extensive range of traditional homemade desserts.
The accompanying wine list offers a range of new and old world wines that is well suited to the food.
Portions are very generous (so side orders may not be needed) and reasonably priced, the welcome is homely and friendly, service efficient and the atmosphere relaxed, making this rural restaurant popular with both locals and visitors to the area.