Owned by Kevin and Caroline Clarke since 2007, Strabane’s leading restaurant is an attractive building near the courthouse, with pretty hanging baskets to welcome arriving guests, and menus displayed on either side of the front door.
Inside, a seated bar area leads into the restaurant space, which has appealing décor with bold wallpaper in black and cream and panels with beaded motifs giving it a contemporary feel.
Natural light is at a premium, but the dining area is attractively lit and conveys a sense of occasion with its fresh flowers, upholstered benches and high-backed black leather chairs which are set around darkwood tables, laid bistro style, with good linen napkins.
A genuinely warm welcome from well trained staff sets the tone for an experience where excellent service and attention to detail provide the highlights. (A nice touch, for example, is the butter - which comes in curls with a little sprig of rosemary.)
Seasonally-led menus read well and are changed often to reflect the availability of local foods. As a Taste of Ulster member, Oysters takes pride in offering local produce including 28 day hung Northern Ireland beef, seasonal vegetables and organic ice cream - also game, such as Baronscourt venison and pheasant, which is popular in the winter.
The dessert menu offers classics like crème brûlée (with seasonal variations) served with shortbread biscuit or homemade chocolate brownie with crème anglaise and everything is homemade except a range of gorgeous Glastry Farm Ice Creams which come in a range of luscious flavours including Kilbeggan Whiskey. Or you can finish with cheese - which, unusually, offers a selection from nearby Fivemiletown Creamery.
The cooking is contemporary and presentation stylish – sometimes with quirky details, such as presenting a little square of tray bake on a half oyster shell with your coffee.
Long opening hours make this a very useful restaurant to know about when visiting the area – and an early evening ‘High Tea’ menu offers especially good value.