The warmly lit staircase sets a welcoming tone for customers into Paul Arthurs' small first floor restaurant on the main street of his home town of Kircubbin.
With the kitchen the focal point for diners - and perhaps a cheering open fire on chilly days - and work by Belfast artist Terry Bradley adding splashes of pzazz, it exudes character and is promisingly set up with good wine glasses and attractive ladderback chairs.
Friendly staff quickly make customers feel at home and offer a short, enticing menu. Local produce, including seafood, features strongly and there is always a catch of the day; but, unusually for the area, the wide range of dishes usually favours meat, and there will also be local game in season.
However vegetarians are not overlooked, with options listed separately, and there’s even a vegan choice. Homely desserts are accompanied by excellent Lavazza coffee.
Fresh local produce, accurate cooking and deep, well-balanced flavours make for a memorable dining experience here, enhanced by an accessible, well priced wine list that includes a Chef’s Selection and a short list of higher end bottles.
Both the excellent food and its setting reflect not only the character of the chef, but the unique character of this beautiful part of the world.
Below the restaurant, the casual Bella's Bistro offers a more traditional bar menu and the same good cooking in an attractive bar/restaurant setting.There's a nice big garden well set up with sturdy tables and benches at the rear, and cosy fires in the bar when they're needed.
Seven comfortable, simply furnished en-suite bedrooms are offered, including 2 suitable for disabled guests.