When we visited The Bull & Ram in Ballynahinch back in July, we knew this was one restaurant in Northern Ireland destined for serious success.

Despite having been open only four weeks when we visited, we were blown away by the quality of the food, the knowledge and friendliness of the team, and the outstanding surroundings.

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So we’re proud to report that this new venture by award winning chef Kelan McMichael is already paying off, as the already renowned restaurant notched up three awards at the Yes Chef Awards in Dublin.

Despite only opening its doors four short months ago, Head Chef Kelan McMichael and his team won the award for Best Newcomer and Best Casual Dining in Ulster.

They also notched up the award for Best Casual Dining for Ireland.

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Also this week, famed food critic Jay Rayner, Observer Magazine Food Critic hailed the restaurant in an outstanding review ‘A class act without being flash about it’ and called it a ‘an utter joy’ with ‘tear-inducingly bloody lovely beef’ supplied by Hannan Meats.

Kelan McMichael said: “Delighted and proud to win all three awards tonight considering we’ve only been opened four months.

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“Testament to my great team and to the amazing producers here in Northern Ireland whose plentiful produce inspires me and the team to prepare dishes which as Jay Rayner pointed out in his review this week are “thoughtful innovations” which lead to these wins.

“I am taking this opportunity to thank all our customers, family and friends who have supported us.”

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Kelan’s passion for local, County Down ‘no frills’ food has inspired him to create an imaginative, modern yet informal menu that showcases the very best of local produce and ingredients all underpinned with incredible flavours.

Award winning 40 day succulent rib-eye beef or 28 day sirloin beef aged in Himalayan salt from Hannan Meats and local Portavogie fresh fish will all grace an ever changing seasonal menu.

Ironic and also iconic, the venue chosen to host Kelan’s first restaurant is a beautiful Grade 1 listed Edwardian butchers shop in Ballynahinch which has been lovingly restored with the help of  architect Sean Furey, Gradon Architecture.

As work was undertaken on this listed building, stunning original features were revealed from the exquisite tiles on the walls and floors to the actual bull and ram head.

Kelan’s passion for foraging, sourcing and growing seasonal ingredients all lends itself to a succulent and mouthwatering menu. A medley of seasonal soft fruits, vegetables and herbs will all be grown in the walled garden unearthed behind the property.

Kelan says: “I have been experimenting with my modern, bistro menu over the years and want to celebrate the true wealth of incredible seasonal, local produce that is on offer in abundance here in Co. Down Strangford Lobster, Kilkeel crab on toast, Hannan Meats dry-aged in a Himalayan salt chamber to a simple French Onion Soup all served with a glass of James Nicholson’s finest wines.”

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Visit bullandram.com, 1 Dromore Street, Ballynahinch, 1 Dromore Street, BT24 8AG. Telephone: 02897 560 908 Email Bookings: info@bullandram.com

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