Sunday, 26 October 2008

A Drive To The Quays In Portavogie

It was somewhat cold, at times, today. The temperature gauge in the car read 7c for a time. We had no firm plans made; merely a vague notion of a Sunday drive. In the event, we jumped into the two-seater and motored in a southerly direction, down the eastern side of the Ards Peninsula in County Down.

Passing Bangor, Donaghadee, Millisle, Ballywalter, Ballyhalbert and our ultimate destination, Portavogie. I can never recall whether Portavogie has the Province's second fishing fleet; or is it Kilkeel? En route, we encountered several pheasant flapping along the narrow roads - probably escapees from Ballywalter Park!

The Quays Restaurant is very close to Portavogie harbour.I parked the car close to the restaurant - an erstwhile haunt of George Best who lived nearby - and wandered in to inquire about availability, since we had not booked. No problem today. We were shown a pleasant table, number five, on an elevated platform; and there were large windows looking out to sea.

I like the Quays. It is quite homely and traditional. The staff are friendly and courteous. The decor consists of turquoise and yellow walls, a patterned carpet; and solid cushioned chairs. It works well. Casting an eye over the wine list, the bottle prices range from £12 to £95 for the Dom Perignon.

We ordered prawn cocktail, £5.95, and a prawn open sandwich, £10.95. I had a half-pint of Carlsberg shandy at £1.75; and the Dowager, an orange juice, £1.55. We shared banoffee pie with whipped cream for pudding, £4.25.

The prawn cocktail was served as a main course and looked like a miniature version of my prawn open sandwich. My meal consisted of juicy, fresh prawns in a cocktail sauce sitting atop thick, wheaten bread. Beside this sat a mixed salad of lettuce, sliced egg, shredded peppers, red onion and a small slice of cherry tomato. I suppose, if I am being critical, I'd have liked even more variety in the salad. More tomato, some grated cheese, coleslaw; a few more imaginative items like a few grapes, pineapple or cucumber. The sauce was just a touch bland for me personally. I like liberal amounts of it too: I like my sauces! I'm doubtless being a bit niggly; don't get me wrong - we enjoyed the experience. We both liked the banoffee pie and it was a perfect conclusion to an enjoyable meal.

We thought we'd try to revisit the Quays before Christmas. Incidentally, I spotted many diners tucking in to the battered fish, chips and mushy peas which looked delicious! Our meal cost £24.45.

I have a very simple, yet effective, recipe for cocktail sauce which, for me, is ideal:
  • equal measures of mayonnaise and tomato ketchup
  • a dash of Tabasco sauce to taste
  • sugar or honey to taste - I have a sweet tooth


David Todd said...

Looks like you got them on a good day. My last visit to the Quays will be my last because of the way my wife and I were treated then.It was a couple of years ago so maybe they've new management or something now.

Timothy Belmont said...

I've been to so many places down the years; no spring chicken now! They can be hit or miss, I know.

Twelve years ago, we had an awfully disappointing meal at the Cuan. I wrote to them and they didn't even bother to reply! It was so long ago now that I'd definitely return. I'm sure their staff has changed since 1996! :-)

Perhaps the Quays has, indeed, some new staff since your last visit.