I was invited to Balloo House in Killinchy for a family celebration meal. The official reason was a belated 21st for my niece, Kirsten. In actual fact, by the time we arrived we worked out that between 10 of us, we had one 21st, two completed degrees, two completions of the Highland way walk, one new house, one new job and a 55th wedding anniversay. Now that is several excellent reasons to celebrate!
For anyone who doesn’t know Balloo house, it has quite a history, having been as 18th century coach house and a 19th century Farm house. Today, it still has sturdy stone walls and flagstone flooring but now boasts an open, airy and comfortable space with a warm and welcoming atmosphere
As our ages ranged from 15 to 79, we opted for an early evening booking in the bistro. This meant that when the menus arrived, we were also eligible for the high tea menu. We perused both menus but the majority of us opted for the high tea as it offered an excellent choice ( 4 starters, 6 mains and 6 desserts) at extremely good value ( 2 courses for £13.95 or 3 courses for £17.95)
For my starter, I chose the Crispy goats cheese fritters with beetroot, walnut and local leaves. I personally consider that goats cheese and beetroot are the perfect partners as the tastes just complement each other perfectly. You can see from the picture how beautifully presented this was but I don’t think that the picture does it justice. Each fritter was plated on a little bit of pureed beetroot and accompanied by a scattering of small beetroot cubes. The pieces of walnut just added an additional crunchy texture which worked well with the combination.
For my main, I opted for the crispy chicken goujons with a choice of dip ( garlic mayo, sweet chilli jam or pepper sauce) I chose sauteed potatoes as a side order (£3.50). I think I was drawn to this dish by the dips. I couldnt choose between the the sweet chilli jam or the pepper sauce so the very nice waitress let me have both. So nice when one of life’s little dilemnas is so easily sorted! For what its worth- the pepper sauce was infinitely nicer!
Eying up the other meals around the table, I had a bit of plate envy over the Gloucester Old Spot pork belly which came served with spring vegetables, peas mash and roasted apples. The green hue of the peas mash was a little off putting but the taste was delicious!
While I didn’t order a dessert, my spoon seemed to have a mind of its owm and bravely ventured in several directions to sample all the options. For me, the stand out dessert was the White Chocolate and Rhubarb cheesecake with rhubarb ripple ice-cream. I will definitely be trying to recreate this one.
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