Northern Ireland's 'sexiest' restaurant joins Times top 20
A hidden culinary gem in Co Down has been crowned the sexiest restaurant in Northern Ireland after being included in a Times top 20 list.
The steamy accolade could make the luxurious Upstairs at Balloo the perfect venue for romantic couples on Valentine's Day.
Jennie Sweeney (46), co-owner of the Killinchy eatery, reacted: "We are sexy and we didn't know it, but we certainly don't object to the title." Jennie and her husband Ronan have been luring diners to the 17th century coach house for nearly 15 years. But now the dreamy menu created by celebrity chef Danny Millar - coupled with the venue's country chic style - has been singled out for its unique and romantic qualities.
Its original exposed stone walls, French parquet flooring, chandeliers, fancy armchairs and roaring open fire could provide the perfect backdrop for love-birds who have been flocking to the weekend restaurant.
"One of the main advantages of the Upstairs restaurant is that we are like a hidden gem," Jennie said. "We were confident that our venue is romantic, but ultimately it's the quality of our food which attracts people."
The venue, which prides itself in its choice of locally sourced seafood and dry Irish beef, is taking bookings for February 14 and recently launched a monthly pop-up supper club which will run throughout the remainder of 2018.
Meanwhile, Galgorm Resort and Spa, just outside Cullybackey, Co Antrim, was listed among the 30 most romantic hotels in the UK.