This rural hideaway is a hidden treasure located adjacent to Tullylish pottery outside the village of Gilford; housed in a converted linen mill dating from the 1800’s, it is situated on the Banbridge side of the River Bann.
The restaurant is set over two floors, the upper floor comprising of a large lounge area which exudes charm; it is furnished with big soft sofas and comfortable armchairs which are so cosy and homely that you won’t want to leave to go downstairs to eat.
However the downstairs dining room won’t disappoint you, as it is equally charming and full of atmosphere with a gentle waft of nice food aromas as you enter. The Pot Belly stove in the corner, from which restaurant gets its name, creates a focal point and adds to the atmosphere.
Fresh local produce, often free range and organic - Lissara free range duck, Glenarm salmon, Carlingford Lough mussels for example - is stylishly served from a tempting selection on both the very reasonably priced early bird menu and a fairly extensive à la carte menu.
Vegetarian and coeliacs options are available and the cooking is sound, with fairly traditional presentation, as befits the style of the restaurant.
You might begin with a large bowl of Carlingford Lough Mussels poached in cream, garlic and wine, which is handsomely presented and guaranteed to whet the appetite before indulging in the signature dish: described as ‘an all time favourite’ by many discerning diners, this is a generous portion of succulent and flavoursome Pot Belly fillet of chicken, filled with garlic and herb cheese and baked in cranberries, cream and port...
In keeping with the rural charm, the homely dishes offered for dessert make a fitting finale to a great meal.
Service is quick and efficient and staff are friendly and helpful, making for a relaxed and homely atmosphere.
Value for money is good too, and specials often offered; however, bear in mind that no vegetables or potatoes come with the dish, so side orders are generally required which adds to the cost of a meal here.
A fairly comprehensive wine list complements the food, offering a good choice of new and old world wines, with prices around the £14-£30 range.