A Victorian house in the small village of Ballyrobert is the setting for this highly regarded rural restaurant. It’s run by Dermot and Catherine Reagan, a young couple whose passion for good food is evident from the moment you enter their delightful, spacious, high-ceilinged dining room: modern and pleasingly simple, with feature walls in bold wallpaper and classic wooden tables perfectly set off by smart white leather seats, it’s clear that a lot of thought has gone into the décor - but it’s the menu that takes centre stage.
Dermot offers both à la carte and set menus (lunch and early dinner), based mainly on locally sourced foods including fish, duck, beef and venison, which he cooks to perfection in appealing modern dishes.
Weekday lunch menus are flexible, including a chowder (which, like a number of other dishes, is suitable for coeliacs) as well as a homemade soup of the day and several dishes that are available as starters or mains - a well made Caesar salad with char-grilled chicken, perhaps, and Kilkeel prawn, chilli & ginger risotto with fresh coriander.
Main courses may include a good mainstream vegetarian dish such as ‘Risotto Verde’ with peas, spinach, broccoli, herbs, parmesan and courgette fritters, and popular local minute steak with chunky chips.
Evening à la carte menus offer more luxurious options, with an emphasis on seafood, including treats such as crab & chilli crème brulée, and you’ll also find interesting dishes based on local beef, rack of Northern Irish lamb and local chicken.
Seriously delicious desserts are a high point, featuring favourites like chocolate tart with vanilla (or perhaps coffee & cardamom) ice cream, alongside more unusual offerings such as a luscious mango parfait with caramelised mango and chocolate & chilli sorbet.
A global wine list includes excellent house wines, also available by the glass.
The set menus – early evening and all day Sunday – are especially good value, and delightful service makes the good food served all the more enjoyable.
A great little spot and well worth factoring into you itinerary when visiting the area.