For those that don’t know it, the Stillhouse of Moira used to be the Four Trees Bar. It has been taken over by husband and wife team, Stuart and Barbara Hughes, who created the Ruby Blue Spirits brand and are relocating their production to their new premises. I have met both of them and am very inspired by their vision for the business.
I invited Mr. Eating Ideas to join me for a lunch date and he couldn’t get his coat on quick enough, so desperate was he to avoid his normal sandwich! He even volunteered to drive so that I could sample a cocktail or two!
When we arrived we were warmly greeted and shown to our seat, a snug little booth! We were shown what the chef had selected for our sampling menu and given the drinks menu to peruse. As we were in the home of RubyBlue Spirits, it would have been rude not to try one of their signature cocktails so I selected a Singapore Sling made with Jawbox Gin, RubyBlue cranberry liqueur, cherry liqueur, pineapple, angostura and lime. Delicious and the perfect start to any date as far as I’m concerned!
Inside the restaurant
First up was the Conway Farm Courgette Flower, filled with Fivemiletown Goat’s cheese, red pepper and sesame. I regularly order vegetarian, and this was right up my alley. The courgette flower was really light, and the goat’s cheese didn’t overwhelm it at all.
Next was the tempura cod cheeks, served with sweet & sour tomatoes and curried aioli. I’m not aware of ever having eaten a cod’s cheek. Truth be told, I wasn’t aware that cod have cheeks. I can now assure you that they do, and they are very tasty at that! We both loved the mixture of the spicy tomatoes and the garlic aioli, they provided a great combination of textures and flavours.
We opted for individual main courses. I chose the Salted Hake with courgette, spinach & pea puree, fish veloute and whipped potatoes. I’m not usually a fan of fish veloute but this one was delicious and perfect with the hake. Big shout out to whoever cooked the mash which was piping hot and totally yum!
Mr. Eating Ideas stayed true to his normal preferences and ordered the duck. This came served with Conway Farm beetroot, fondant potato and blackberry. Unlike me, he is a man of few words when it comes to food, but I knew by the way that he was tucking in with gusto that he was a happy man!
For pudding, chef presented us with his choices, the Panna Cotta with burnt orange & mango and the Tonka bean Crème Brulee, served with a warm home-made chocolate chip cookie. We spent a considerable amount of time, debating the merits of each while batting each other’s spoons away in the fight to get at them. We never did come to a conclusion but based on our spoon fight, I would say that I was steering towards the Crème Brulee while Mr. Eating Ideas was being uncharacteristically defensive of the Panna Cotta!
About the Stillhouse
The Stillhouse is a family owned pub and distillery, situated in the lovely village of Moira in County Down.
Stuart and Barbara Hughes produce their famous RubyBlue spirits there and taking over the pub was a natural progression. It boasts a beautiful garden area and supports local food producers, which is always a plus in my eyes. If you haven’t already paid a visit, make sure to check it out. You can find out more here
Family owned Distillery & Pub in the beautiful village of Moira Co Down, with the RubyBlue range of speciality spirits produced on site by Stuart and Barbara Hughes there is a real love for local produce.
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