Saturday, 24 January 2009

Dinner At The Bay Tree

When Godmother rang me at the beginning of the week, suggesting that we dine at the Bay Tree coffee-house and restaurant in Holywood, County Down, I jumped at the idea. I have been to the Bay Tree many times before; not for dinner in the evening, though. It is up a narrow alleyway, directly opposite the town's police station.

I was slightly whacked from my hedge-laying activity earlier in the day; however, having showered and spruced up, we left home in the two-seater and met Godmother as pre-arranged, at 7 pm in the Bay Tree, on Friday evening.

I like the Bay Tree. It's a thoroughly civilized place and the food always seems to be tip-top. We all decided to skip the starters and proceeded directly to the main course. Godmother and I had the Beef-steak braised in Guinness with shallots, mushrooms and bay, served with mash; the Dowager had pan-fried haddock with parsley butter and mash. We shared a dish of sugar-snap peas, broccoli and parsnip mash. Chef relishes mash!

For pudding, I had the raspberry cheesecake; and the others shared meringue with fruits of the forest and cream. We had a bottle of Chilean red wine, too.

We all enjoyed our meal. The standard was very good: well cooked, tasty, well executed and accomplished. The braised beef melted in the mouth. The haddock seemed fine, too. Needless to add, the puddings were all very good, as well.

Service was friendly, helpful and attentive. What more can I say?

I chatted to John Self, a fellow-blogger, last year and concur with him that the ambiance remains that of the good old Bay Tree coffee-house. I think that, perhaps, placing table-cloths on the tables with silver dinnerware and flowers would enhance the prandial experience; simply making the excellent cuisine and service in the evenings feel like a more special occasion. No matter, that's my own view.

I shan't recite the bill. It's all here on their fine website.

I've been somewhat irritated this week, by a new postman who doesn't push the mail right through the letter-box. This causes cold air to enter the house and may alert strangers to believe there's nobody at home. I've sent the Royal Mail a message about this. Am I being a bit petty? At least the new post-man is delivering the mail much earlier than before. I haven't had an opportunity to talk to him yet.

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