No, I’ve not stopped eating!

You might well be wondering…why so quiet? The fact is that I’ve been eating out more than ever. The problem is that its been for two different restaurant awards competitions, so I’m not allowed to talk about them, not even once the results are out. Ooh so difficult. Sorry to deprive you of my opinion! In the meantime though I post semi regularly on oonagheats.com on Facebook, so make sure you Like my page there.

So, to make up for it, I pushed myself to the limit and went out yet again, just for you all. The most recent was to Restaurant 23 in Warrenpoint, Co. Down. The man iin the kitchen in Raymond McArdle and he knows his onions for sure!

raymond

Raymond trained with  Paul Rankin he then moved on to work with Michael Deane for seven years progressing through the ranks to become Head Chef at Deane’s Belfast, helping gain a Michelin Star and three AA Rosettes at this time. He was head Chef in the Nuremore Hotel from 2001 to 2011 and propelled the Restaurant, now highly successful, to 3AA Rosettes an accolade currently held by one of the only hotels in Ulster.

And so to the food:

The menu was diverse, lots to choose from, great provenance, local producers in abundance. For starters, we shared Roast Dived Sea Scallops, Crisp Armagh Bacon (though I thought it was pork belly actually), with Tomato Chorizo, Smoked Paprika Mayonnaise. The scallops were really fresh, perfectly cooked and the pork (bacon?!) worked really well with the seafood;

Starter

I couldn’t decide between the Line Caught Loin of Cod with Seafood Fricassée, Young Greens, Chilli Butter Sauce or the Market Fish of the Day which was panfried John Dory. One of my colleagues very kindly ordered the cod (no pressure) so I got to taste both (the third had the John Dory too). Absolutely fabulous (is that a phrase?)!! We ordered veg  – chunky chips, mashed potato and selection of veg (which were a bit overcooked). No food left behind, that’s my motto. All wonderful.

John DoryLoin of CodVeg

No desserts for us (how very Presbyterian) so I ordered the Irish cheese plate…and look at it, very specatcular. Cheese at room temp, as it should be, yummy chutney, fresh grapes, and those sails are some sort of crisp bread. Fab!!

Cheese

After dinner it was back to Bennett’s bar – best Guinness I’ve had in a long while. They have great food there too in their Seafood Bar (see past postings on Facebook for more about Bennett’s). The lucky residents of Warrenpoint have beautiful views and fab food on their doorstep.  Up Down !!

Disappointed in Dundalk

I stayed overnight in the Crowne Plaza in Dundalk recently….

The hotel room was small but comfortable enough. Queen Size bed, comfortable, though I was cold despite cranking the heat up, and there was no blanket in the wardrobe – I had to wear socks and throw my coat over myself to keep warm! The bathroom accessories need attention – grey towels, little by way of shampoo etc. When I mentioned the cold / blanket issue to the receptionist at check out, he said there should have been one (right!) but made no apology.Bed1 bedroomFood at dinner was bland…..Poached salmon on a bed of noodles & veg….utterly tasteless…Salmon and Noodles

Service was fine. Breakfast – no one there when I arrived to tell me what was what – so I helped myself initially. Hot food was miserable looking. No chef to cook to order though the menu said there should have been. Cheese & cold meats on display were dried up and curled. Awful. Tea was nice though. Expenseive overall for what it was at €104.

Recent Dining experiences in Galway

I know everyone says it, but Galway really is great! There is always somewhere new opening, and plenty of well established great places to eat out for lunch. I’m a big fan of lunch (dine like a Prince etc!) and am always keen to find the best spots wherever I go. So recently in Galway city, I decided to forego my usual lunch at the Providence Market Kitchen on St. Augustine St., just for a change.

Across the road is MixGreens – where the Grain Store cafe used to be. On the inside it’s really bright, spacious and modern – lots of sharp colours and high stools. Staff were very friendly and helpful and my Greek Salad was fresh and really tasty. As described, it consisted of Olives, feta cheese, green peppers, cucumber, red onion, on a bed of mixed leaves drizzled with oregano dressing.

Get yourself Upstairs in McCambridges – the pictures below say it all – bright, spacious, great service, fab food! So much more than just a deli!

The layout,  the lovely curved staircase, the display of cakes, its great service and what’s more, it’s open for dinner in the evenings from Thursdays so I’ll be back to try that another day asap!