Roly Graham is well known in Northern Irish dining circles, having cooked at a number of high profile restaurants and earned an enviable reputation when head chef at the nearby Inn at Castledawson, so there was plenty of interest when he opened his own restaurant here in 2012.
Centrally located (just across the road from Laurel Villa, see entry), it began modestly in one long room with no reception area - but friendly staff looked after new arrivals brilliantly and, once seated, it was all about the food. The main restaurant is still on the ground floor (there's also a smaller room upstairs, great for private parties) but it was all change in 2016 when, following major renovations to the property, a new lounge and cocktail garden was opened, providing an atmospheric place to meet before a meal or round off the evening after leaving your table.
Yet, while the surroundings are now far more appealing, it's still all about the food. The style is modern Irish cooking and seasonally led menus have a strong emphasis on quality ingredients - notably great fish and game, in season.
Accessible pricing has also has been a key feature from day one and, while apparently mutually exclusive, these twin aims seem to have been achieved without compromise making this the perfect neighbourhood restaurant.
An early dinner menu, in particular, offers outstanding value at just £14 for two courses ((£18 with a cocktail) and, although side orders are charged separately (and there may be one or two supplements for more luxurious dishes), it is by no means a cut price offering.
Excellent fish cooking is always a feature - a starter of Portavogie scallops with Clonakilty black pudding and cauliflower has been a favourite from the get-go, as has a main course of whole lemon sole served, perhaps, with new potatoes and garlic Portavogie prawns.
Meat and poultry lovers are well looked after too, with dishes such as Rockvale chicken with celeriac, creamed leeks and croquette potatoes to look forward to - and excellent steaks and slow cook beef, which is obviously sourced from a good supplier.
Attention to detail is outstanding from the start: there is a charge for the delicious freshly baked breads and tapenade but it would be a shame to miss them, and side orders are far from the usual run of the mill offerings. Good service has always been a special point of pride, and children are made especially welcome by the courteous staff; the 'real food' children's menu is a pleasure - among an imaginative range of dishes, it even offers a small portion of sirloin steak.
A well selected wine list has interesting tasting notes, good value house wines (in three sizes) and an emphasis on offering quality wines by the glass.
Special theme nights are regularly held throughout the year and - like everything else at this fine restaurant - well worth keeping an eye on.