Oliver’s Restaurant in Ballyhackamore has launched a new casual lunch menu, encouraging us to start the New Year as we mean to go on, and making time to enjoy lunch.
At the end of 2017, it was reported that fewer UK workers are leaving their desks for lunch, and instead opting for a miserable sandwich or leftovers while working through their designated hour. This is certainly true for me. Most days, I eat at my desk while trying to get on top of my ever-increasing to-do list. Faced with my normal soup or sandwich for lunch, I didn't hesitate to say yes when the invitation came through.
On arrival, myself and the other guests were greeted with a glass of bubbly. How decadent for a week day lunch and yet so perfect!
We were treated to a choice of treats from a platter, pate on toast, lamb en croute, quails eggs, artichoke, sundried tomatoes to name a few. These were delicious and I had to make a conscious effort to limit myself to a couple to allow room for the main course.
Given that we had started with nibbles, most of us opted to skip the starters and go straight to the main course. There was so much choice that my friend Pamela and I agreed to have 2 different ones and share (always my favourite approach to dining out). I chose the Thai Chilli Beef, which came with Napa Slaw and Garlic Aioli. The beef was plentiful and really spicy, exactly how I like it. Pamela opted for the Mac N' Cheese which was made with smoked Irish Cheddar, peas, rocket, broad beans and a herb crust. This has to be the ultimate comfort food and would be my ideal lunch after a night out before! Sharing was a great option as bizarrely the two dishes worked really well together!
The six of us at our table were finding it hard to justify puddings, as we really were rather full. Someone had the genius idea of ordering all 4 desserts and 6 spoons so that we could each try them all. This was perfect as we could sample them all without feeling over full. The desserts on offer were sticky toffee pudding, vanilla panna cotta, apple & rhubarb crumble with vanilla ice cream and lemon tart with blueberry sorbet. Pudding is generally my least favourite course but these were genuinely lovely and if I had to choose a favourite, it would be the lemon tart which was perfectly sharp with a lovely crumbly base,
The restaurant itself has a very relaxed but very cool decor and the staff are very helpful. As a massive supporter of local produce, I was delighted to see that Oliver's features a wide range of local goodies, Fruit and vegetables from Evergreen, Abernethy Butter, fresh seafood from Ewings, Oliver’s own and Yellow Door fresh baked bread, Carnbrooke meat and Young Buck cheese from Newtownards all appear on the menu, creating snacks and starters such as Irish mussel and crab claw hot pot, Thai chilli beef, and mains such as 66-day salt aged Co. Down Hereford ribeye, and Carnbrooke Butcher’s cut sausage with pork, apple, black pudding and mash. What's not to like?
I will definitely be going back to Oliver's as there were so many items on the menu that I am keen to try. You can find out more here.
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