A perfect day on Ulster's North coast ends with a gorgeous meal — despite our reviewer putting a foot wrong by not knowing her place among the locals
Ramore Oriental Restaurant, Portrush
Tel: 7082 6969
What we had?
Crispy aromatic duck ...£6.50
Salt chilli squid.......£4.95
Thai chicken green curry hotpot.....£10.95
Steamed fillet of turbot...£13.95
Steamed rice x 2...£3.90
Coffee x 2.....£3.20
On a sunny spring afternoon, there are few things more pleasant than taking a drive along the coast. To end up at the Ramore in Portrush is just the icing on the cake.
Of course, being such a lovely day, the bikers were out in force. Not a problem — but we did see two bikers nursing dogs on their knees as they whizzed past. Is this a form of animal exercise peculiar to north Antrim I wonder?
The Ramore has every appearance of a thriving business — for those who haven't been there recently, there is the oriental restaurant on the top floor, a wine bar, an Italian-style food bar called Coast and a bistro, and the old Harbour Bar as well. They were all busy and the buzz was great.
We headed to the Oriental for the 6.30pm sitting on a Saturday. As I mounted the stairs (which could have done with a brush — that sand gets everywhere) I found myself at the back of a queue. I just assumed these people in front hadn't made reservations, so I politely made my way to the head of the line, feeling the glares of indignation burning into my back.
Of course, I ended up slinking to the back of the queue with my tail between my legs, a bit like those bike-riding dogs I'd seen earlier, as the others were actually booked in too. The walk of shame. Well, how was I to know 'til I asked!
I got over it, though, as soon as I was seated in the suitably Orientalish dining room, decorated in stylish black and red.
The town of Portrush in the distance even looked good as well as the setting sun reflected on the rows of windows staggering up the hill.
Dissuading my eating companion from doing his walrus impression — I'm sure you've seen it, chopsticks hanging from the inside of the upper lip? — we got back to the serious business of ordering.
I opted for the aromatic duck with the usual pancakes, cucumber, spring onion and hoisin sauce. Always a firm favourite with me, this was a particularly generous portion and the duck not only had that delicious crispy skin but also a good, meaty slice of duck to go along with it.
My friend decided on salt chilli squid with chilli oil, which he said was quite delicious.
For the mains I had the Thai chicken green curry hotpot with boiled rice.
The waitress didn't warn me, however, that the hotpot contained noodles, so I really didn't need the rice at all (though I do prefer it).
The curry itself was mild but great and packed with vegetables like asparagus, mange tout, leaks and peas. It would be a super warming meal to have on a horrible wet day.
My guest chose a simply steamed fillet of turbot which came with spring onion, ginger and sesame. It was divine, too.
Even though the sauce had more of a punch than the curry, it didn't in the least swamp the delicate flavour of the fish and was a perfect combination.
Dessert was out of the question for me, but my friend tucked into a tiramisu — and yes, I did taste it. I would have liked just a smattering more alcohol in it, but even at that it was very good.
All this was washed down with a lovely bottle of Yering Station followed by a couple of freshly ground coffees.
All in all, a meal I'd drive the 40-odd miles from home to enjoy again.