Exciting, dynamic new restaurant Bull & Ram may have only opened its doors four weeks ago, but it has quickly established itself as one of the greatest new restaurant experiences Northern Ireland has to offer.
We headed to Bull & Ram in Ballynahinch to test the food for ourselves, and were blown away by terrific service, mouth-watering food – and seriously exciting restaurant setting.
Set in a stunning iconic Grade 1 listed old Edwardian butchers shop, Bull & Ram has been lovingly restored to its former glory.
Original features have been maintained instead of being stripped away, from the exquisite tiles on the walls and floors to the actual original bull and ram head tiles – a wonderful nod to the history and namesake of the building.
Meanwhile, the wonderfully modern annex at the back boasts an open kitchen, where the hard working professional chefs add to the relaxed ambience – and delicious aroma!
Ideally situated just under half an hour’s drive from Belfast, Bull & Ram offers the perfect city escape, ideal for a Sunday adventure or relaxed day off if you live in the city. It’s also the ideal location for a relaxed mid-week meal, or weekend celebration – particularly as walk-ins are welcome!
Bull & Ram was opened by award-winning Chef Kelan McMichael who boasts a clear passion for foraging, sourcing and growing seasonal ingredients.
A hugely experienced chef, Kelan has worked at such renowned restaurants as The Poachers Pocket in Killinchy (Winner of 2015 Best Gastro Pub), Ratmullan House in Donegal, and Dean’s with Derek Creagh – to name just a few.
In addition, Kelan worked alongside Paul Rankin at Roscoff’s for a year. His foodie experience, alongside the talented chefs working efficiently in the kitchen, is abundantly evident in every beautifully crafted dish.
Indeed, 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 with incredible flavours.
The menu is positively bursting with delectable options. You’ll struggle to choose between the scrumptious Starters, ranging from Kilkeel Crab on Toast, with Watercress, Horseradish and Lemon, to Sugar Pit Cured Pork Ribs with Fennel, Carrot, and Cabbage Slaw – to name just a few amongst a list of truly delectable options. And that’s not including the incredible daily Specials!
But don’t worry if you can’t make up your mind, as General Manager Daryl Shields is a true testament to the importance of customer service, offering tasters as pleasant surprises to customers to try. Indeed, upon greeting us with a wide smile and all the time in the world (despite a busy Sunday service), Daryl brought us a sharing platter of delectable starters.
The melt in your mouth Sugar pit cured pork ribs were the stuff dreams were made of, whilst the delicious Seafood Chowder Special was the ideal warming sustenance for a wet and windy Sunday. Meanwhile, the delectable Lamb Fritters were truly delicious and the Bone Marrow, which were seasoned to perfection, added a new dimension to the taste experience.
Indeed, the Bull & Ram Seafood Chowder Starter Special tasted vibrantly fresh and was seasoned to utter perfection.
That’s because local Portavogie fresh fish grace an ever changing seasonal menu that changes daily.
Daryl explained: “We wait until our delivery of fresh local Portavogie fish arrives each morning and create our Specials using them, so we don’t know until each morning what they will be!
“It means we are getting the absolute, freshest fish possible!”
Meanwhile, just a few more menu highlights include the 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.
Boasting 55 day aged rump of beef or Mourne lamb, all the trimmings and glass of house wine for just £15.95, Sunday Roasts at Bull & Ram definitely justify a weekend drive!
Generous trimmings include a massive golden Yorkshire Pudding, creamy mash, chunky carrots cooked to perfection, gorgeously rich gravy and golden fluffy roast potatoes.
Whilst the glass of rich red Spanish wine Candidato Tempranillo was the perfect accompaniment to our meal – and seriously good value in the Sunday Roast deal.
Bull & Ram befittingly specialises in serving up the best local produce. Top of the range steaks, which are sourced from Hannan Meats and dry-aged in a Himalayan salt chamber, are truly on another level both in terms of taste and the skill which has gone into ensuring they are cooked to perfection.
With a lengthy list of equally mouth-watering options, you’ll struggle to choose between the likes of the 40 day aged sirloin (300g), to the 28 day sirloin (300g), which all come with a choice of side and sauce.
The Sticky Toffee Pudding is already receiving rave standout reviews online, and upon sampling it ourselves – we can confirm it exceeded its (already very high) reputation.
With its incredible menu deals, Bull & Ram’s affordability is a refreshing attraction to a menu boasting the best meat, aged to perfection.
The Day Menu, which runs 12-6pm Monday – Saturday, offers two courses for £14.95 or 3 for £18.95.
With the most expensive Starter, (the Strangford lobster & crayfish cocktail, guacamole and Bloody Mary cocktail sauce priced at £9.95) – this is seriously incredible value!
A medley of seasonal soft fruits, vegetables and herbs will all be grown in the walled garden unearthed behind the property, which will all be used to flavour the locally sourced, highly seasoned menu, positively bursting with flavours!
Bull & Ram boasts a tremendous drinks menu with far-ranging options. You’ll have a refreshing host of options, whether you’re a local craft beer enthusiast, wine lover or gin worshipper!
Open seven days a week all day for lunch and dinner from 12pm, with last orders ranging from Monday and Tuesday at 8.30pm, to Wednesday and Thursday at 9pm, Friday and Saturday at 9.30pm and Sunday at 8pm.
You can find out more about Bull & Ram at www.bullandram.com, or by liking their official Facebook page.
Situated at 1 Dromore Street, Ballynahinch, 1 Dromore Street, you can contact Bull & Ram by Phone: 02897 560 908 or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.