Not a bogey in sight at outstanding restaurant in Portstewart Golf Club
Two months ago, I started to learn how to play golf with my six-year-old son — he’s already better than me and keen to tell me at EVERY opportunity.
After years of playing rugby, the best way I can describe a visit to the fairways is a five-mile walk punctuated with very frequent disappointments.
Luckily, there were no such let-downs on a recent trip to Portstewart Golf Club.
But that’s probably because I was there not to miss the greens but to have dinner at the truly wonderful Eighteen Ninety Four restaurant in the clubhouse.
Part of the Browns Bonds Hill Collection, the Strand Road eaterie has become synonymous with fine dining and is a firm favourite with locals and tourists visiting the area. Eighteen Ninety Four is perched in the most idyllic location overlooking Portstewart Strand on the Causeway Coast.
The restaurant is modern, but not too formal, which creates a wonderful atmosphere.
It serves an a la carte evening menu and a set Sunday lunch menu featuring the freshest seasonal local produce.
Since opening last year, it has already built up quite the reputation for its incredible cooking, using modern techniques to really wow its guests not only with great food but also an extremely impressive wine list.
My wife chose the restaurant for my birthday dinner and I was blown away when we arrived one Sunday evening.
Based on the first floor of the clubhouse, with floor-to-ceiling windows that provide a fantastic view of the ocean, the restaurant is light and airy with some amazing views.
As you would expect, the staff are all friendly and do their utmost to ensure compliance with social distancing guidelines and Covid-19 safety protocols.
As for the food, well, quite frankly, it was one of the best meals I’ve had this year.
The chargrilled dry-aged 8oz fillet steak, with carmelised onion, king oyster mushroom and peppercorn sauce was outstanding, truly cooked to perfection and absolutely bursting with flavour.
A wonderful fresh cod with chargrilled courgette and sun-dried tomato pesto was equally as good.
My favourite dish, however, was the sugar-pit pork loin with BBQ hispi cabbage and burnt pear, which provided the perfect mix of sweet and savoury.
Even my son’s sausages and chips was first-class and thankfully — after overdosing on ice cream — he resisted the urge to challenge me to a round of golf as I paid the bill.