Loyal customers come from far and wide for the pleasure of dining at Stanley and Maria Matthews’ restaurant on the handsome, wide main street of this attractive town. And no wonder, as Stanley is a fine chef and Maria a welcoming and solicitous hostess.
Ingredients are carefully sourced, many of them local; you'll see some of Northern Ireland's best foods credited including Fermanagh Free Range Chicken, Sperrin lamb and and beef from the award-winning local butcher, Hunter's.
Menus are generous, with a classical base that Stanley works on to give popular dishes a new twist - and there's a very nice Junior menu for diners under 12.
Specialities include their own home-made wheaten bread, which is the perfect accompaniment for a chowder of Atlantic fish & local potatoes, while main course favourites include Sperrin lamb with classic onion white sauce, Hunter's fillet or sirloin steak and seafood thermidor (Stanley’s selection of fresh fish with a mild cheese & brandy sauce).
Menus are not over-extensive, but change frequently to suit different occasions - there’s an attractive early dinner menu which is exceptional value, followed by a dressier (and more adventurous) à la carte for the main evening menu; “Our version of Osso Bucco”, a dish of slow cooked shin of Sperrin lamb cooked on the bone with wine and fresh herbs, is an interesting variation on a classic, for example, and seafood lovers will enjoy dishes like Zarzuela - the evening's fresh fish selection cooked in a classic Basque tomato & garlic sauce.
Stanley’s cooking is refreshingly down-to-earth - new dishes are often introduced, but if it’s on the menu it’s because it works: there are no gimmicks.
An exciting recent addition to the menu is the local Dart Mountain Cheese range, made nearby at Claudy by Julie and Kevin Hickey of Tamnagh Foods. Stanley is offering them as a plated selection to include the three varieties that are currently available: Sperrin Blue (the orginal cheese); Dart Mountain Dusk (which took Bronze in the World Cheese Awards following its release in 2014) and the nutty, alpine style Kilcreen. There are two more (very different and equally interesting) Dart Mountain cheeses on the way, so customers can look forward to tasting these additions as they become available.
Good cooking and good value go hand in hand with warm hospitality here, and it is always a pleasure to visit The Lime Tree - indeed, many discerning guests enjoy it so much that they plan journeys around a meal here.
A concise, interesting wine list also offers predictably good value.