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 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; 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. 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!! 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 !!
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