The Bull & Ram, 1 Dromore St,
Ballynahinch BT24 8AG 028 9756 0908
Scrolling through social media there is a near constant buzz surrounding the Bull & Ram with reports of proper honest food, meticulously cooked in the heart of farmer territory in Ballynahinch. Being on my 'must visit list' for a couple of months I received a timely invitation to come along which was all the persuasion I needed to venture into the sticks of Ballynahinch.
Upon arrival, the first thing that struck me was the chequered tile floor and green tiled walls which produced a rather cold & clinical feeling to the front of the restaurant. Divided into two sections I presume the front dining room was indeed the old shop that still brandishes a number of butchery associated fixtures and fittings. The rear of the restaurant had an increasing warmer feel both in temperature, due to the open kitchen, and in overall ambience. Studded leather booth style seats line the walls below a row of meat cleavers giving you no hesitation on both what is being served and the venue's history.
The menu couldn't be faulted in that it was short, succinct and covered all bases. Four starters, five mains and four desserts. As I have mentioned in numerous posts I adore Langoustines and can't seem to not order them when available. Every starter appealed but I had order envy when Rachel's Chicken Liver Parfait with Chicken Dripping Yorkshire Pudding arrived. The Langoustines were perfectly fresh, well cooked and served with a squeeze of lemon that enhanced their sweetness. Rachel's starter was a highlight with the yorkshire pudding being served instead of the common toasted sourdough or crusty, an original stroke of genius.The parfait was creamy, slightly gamey with a ring of perfectly solidified butter on the outside. The dish was rounded of with a pickled rhubarb that provided just enough sourness and acidity to cut through the fattiness of the parfait.
I am not usually a lover of traditional Sunday Roasts preferring to BBQ a steak or smoke a lump of pork plus preparing a roast with all the trimmings is fairly laborious. However, if you are ever in need of persuasion as to how great a Sunday roast can be this is the spot. I opted for the Mourne Lamb served with all the trimmings which resulted in a colossal feast and a sleepy afternoon. The lamb was cooked to medium rare perfection, the roast potatoes were crispy, fluffy and and golden, buttery smooth mash did an exemplary job in combining everything which was smothered in probably the best gravy I have ever tasted. Bold statement but it really was that good. All topped with a huge Yorkshire Pudding that cured my order envy from Rachel's starter. Needless to say the desserts weren't considered!
The Bull & Ram have also opened on the Malone Road within the old Beatrice Kennedy unit opposite Villa Italia meaning one of the best Sunday roasts is a lot closer to home!