Lunch isn't for wimps: Portaferry Hotel, Portaferry
After buying the business, based on The Strand in the picturesque Co Down town, Bill Wolsey of Beannchor brought in the very talented chef Gary Bell.
He finds himself in his new place of work via Belfast, Dublin, and also New York.
While my companion ordered from the lunch menu, I fancied sampling the delights of the tasting menu, which had caught my eye.
As he got to grips with his hearty vegetable soup, some beautiful fresh wheaten before moving on to a sirloin steak, chips and then finishing it off with a chocolate brownie with ice-cream, I tucked into some slightly more adventurous fare.
The pan-fried king scallop with baby spinach, saffron mousse and roasted almonds was scrumptious and the goats cheese with black fig and parma ham was delicious. All a delightful treat.
My duck breast main with spiced red cabbage and dauphinoise potatoes was cooked to perfection and I even managed to find room for a zingy passion fruit creme brulee.
The food was good value for money as the portions were generous.
The maitre d' Richard was a joy to deal with and the other waiting staff were also very helpful and friendly, always on hand for anything that we needed.
Something that is a comfort in a restaurant.
We took the suggestion of a trip on the Strangford Lough ferry service as part of our journey home, which proved to be the perfect way to end a very relaxing day.
If anyone has clients that are visiting from faraway shores, I would recommend making the trip to the Ards peninsula so that they can check out the beautiful scenery and the tasty seasonal local produce on offer at the Portaferry Hotel.