From the Cafe Merlot and Number 6 partnership Gerry Russell and John Donnelly, this café and deli in the centre of Enniskillen hit the ground running when it opened early in 2008.
The food and the concept have clearly found a niche as the town's foodies weren't long in discovering the place, which offers a really good deli counter with lots of goodies equally suitable for home or picnics. It specialises in artisan cheeses and cured meats - and stocks exclusive fine wines from small producers. They're also the first stockists of the wheat beer from Northern Ireland's newest micro-brewery, the local Inishmacsaint Brewing Company.
There’s a great selection of Irish and continental cheeses, dishes like homemade hummus and tapenade, pesto, seafood salad, potato and sweet potato salad with garlic, orzo, couscous, selection of olives, stuffed peppers, cured meats; Home-smoked chicken is a house speciality and a favourite for salads and sandwiches, and an Iberico ham on the bone is given pride of place on the deli counter.
Elsewhere, shelves display oils and vinegars, tinned specialities, gourmet biscuits and so on. Drawing on John's expertise there is a really extensive selection of wines, well displayed on sectioned shelves, and they do a line in foodie gifts and bespoke hampers.
Customers opting to eat in sit at barrels with round glass tops and high stools, or at a bench along the big front window facing the street (favoured for people watching). With space at a premium, a small element of discomfort keeps people moving; there’s room for seating outside at the back in fine weather too – still to be developed at the time of going to press.
Favourite lunch options are soup and sandwich (made to order in freshly made bread – e.g. olive or sundried tomato) or the antipasti platter (small or large) served with Gerry's fresh bread.
Although sometimes under pressure, the staff are very pleasant – and, with such good things on offer, people seem prepared to queue if necessary.