We love travelling as a family. And we love good food.
I have meant to do this sort of post forever.
But it is only now that I found the time and the energy to do my first travel and food review.
We live in county Antrim but a couple of years back we lived for a year in Bangor, county Down.
It is a beautiful part of the world and we lived in a stunning location but we didn’t find the people very friendly nor genuine nor kind.
So in the end, we moved back where we felt we belonged.
But now and again, we return for a visit.
And a compulsory bite to eat.
This is the seafront in Bangor, in all its sunny splendour. Always chilly and windy, due to the open sea and the currents but always beautiful to look at!
We decided to go for lunch at The Salty Dog. Emma and I (and Georgie, as a seven month bump) had stayed there in November 2013, when we moved home. Alex ordered us to comfort while he did the relocation. As a hotel, we found it cosy and back then, the staff was very kind and friendly. And we loved their breakfast area and their homemade muesli!
Meanwhile, the hotel and restaurant have changed hands several times. The restaurant has tried to raise the standards(although I couldn’t have faulted it in the first place myself) and has been featuring over the Christmas season sampling dinners and other posh deeds.
We arrived before the lunch rush hour so we had the place to ourselves. Not for long, though, as it filled up pretty quickly, mainly with reservations made in advance.
The specials sounded ambiguous for a non-connoisseur like me so Emma and I decided to go for hearty burgers. Alex LOVES fish chowder so he went for that. Plus the house’s lager, which we found light and refreshing:
We found the place a little understaffed and the attitude of our waiters and waitresses prevalently Bangorian: a bit abrupt, bordering rude at times, as if politeness comes with a price, like the “a la carte” menu. But the worst was yet to come as, as soon as the orders started pouring in, so did the shouting from the kitcken poured out. Emma is very sensitive to loud noises and kept asking us: “Why is the chef so cross, mummy?”
The food was lovely but lacked or overdid it in seasoning. My burger was completely salt-less and Alex’s chowder was beautiful and creamy but a bit too salty. The presentation was lovely, as expected from a place with such high self-imposed standards. The chips were precooked.
We decided to head out as soon as we finished our food as the service didn’t improve, we were left with our plates to wait for the bill, the money was lifted as soon as it came out but not the plates, sure, this is a business, at the end of the day…
Our score? Average.
We were disappointed with the service and the kitchen shouting and not terribly impressed with the food either.
The views sell the place but unfortunately, the staff and the lack of customer care do the restaurant no favours.
Our next stop was Donaghadee. We hadn’t been in absolute ages and Emma loved the idea of a lighthouse and a scoot around the small town.
We decided to try Pier36, as Alex had had food there before. We didn’t have any big expectations as this is, at the end of the day, a small pub in a small little town.
We were pleasantly surprised to arrive into a welcoming front room with an open fire. The staff, although international (or may, because international) was very welcoming and friendly and in no time, we were tucking into our Mauds’ ice cream and a beautiful rhubarb crumble and homemade custard. Divine!
Although the temperatures were close to freezing, we decided to indulge Emma and let her have a little run in the beautiful play area by the sea before heading home, red- cheeked and palatably satisfied at last 🙂