The ship has sailed on top eatery Boat House as chef Joery Castel casts off for break
Fine-dining favourite The Boat House will close its doors in October as top chef Joery Castel says he wants time away from the heat of the kitchen.
It comes just months after the Co Down restaurant became the first in Northern Ireland to feature in The Sunday Times Top 100 Restaurants.
But the tiny eatery based in a 19th century boat house on Bangor marina will close on October 30.
Dutch duo brothers Joery and Jasper Castel opened the tiny restaurant eight years ago but Jasper left to spend more time with his family.
Speaking to Belfast Telegraph, Joery said: "You know what chefs are like, we complain about the long, irregular hours and the pressure but we can't survive without cooking - so I wouldn't rule out starting something again, but in the meantime I just want to take some time out and give my private life and my family some much-needed TLC. It was with a heavy heart and after thinking long and hard about it that I made my decision."
A chef at the top of his game, Joery was voted YesChef Ulster Chef of the Year for 2016, however, he added that he longed for a quieter life: "There's a lot of pressure in running a restaurant.
"I've really enjoyed it but when Jasper and I were working together we were able to cheer each other up when we had a bad day.
"Now it's just me worrying if we have a quiet night or sitting up at night wondering why I can sell the place out three times over on a Saturday but not on a Wednesday.
"In my wildest dreams I think I'd just like to buy a barbecue and cook a few lobsters on the beach every day and once they're sold I'd just go home.
"But that would be utopia - that's a fantasy."
The Boat House had been mentioned in the Michelin Guide seven years' running and last year was awarded three AA Rosettes. Joery said he had come up with a list of ideas which he would run as part of a seven-course tasting menu changing every two weeks until the restaurant's "last supper".
And while Joery might not be cooking for the discerning North Down foodies, his cooking skills will still be under test. Son, Conor Coade might be just nine years old but Joery reckons he could soon put Belfast Telegraph food critic Joris Minne out of a job.
"He's my son but he's also my dining buddy. He went to his first Michelin star restaurant at six and he's done Ox and Eipic in Belfast. But I don't try out my Boat House recipes on him - he's too critical," the top chef quipped.