Sunday, 6 December 2009

Jolly Fine Grub!

I don't think the cost of wild bird food has increased much, since my last visit to Jollye's about six months ago. We called with them this afternoon, on our way back from Donaghadee and Groomsport in County Down. A sack of Niger seeds cost £34.99; and likewise with black sunflower seeds, £12.49. Goldfinches do have expensive tastes! They are the only birds that eat Niger seeds, with us at any rate. During harsher weather in the winter, redpolls and siskins usually make an appearance, and they enjoy Niger seeds, too.

I put the sacks in the boot of the baby two-seater with ease.

Earlier, we lunched at the café in Donaghadee Garden Centre. This place is deservedly popular. We arrived promptly today and donned the feed-bags not long after it opened at 12.30pm. They claim: "We take our food and coffee very seriously, and are proud to say we offer the best in traditional home cooking at both our centres. Scrumptious scones and a huge range of pies, cakes and deserts [sic] are all baked on a daily basis". I shan't argue with that statement. This place seems to be popular with everyone: families; children; older people; those with a disability, too. They provide a number of wheel-chairs.

I think the key to their perennial success is consistently good, no-nonsense, tasty, home-made, traditional Ulster food. If you feel like a sumptuous beef-steak pie with mash, carrots and peas, with plenty of butter and other condiments, I doubt if you'll be disappointed.

And that is just what I had today: all of the above; and the Dowager enjoyed a small dish of a good stew. We shared their popular lemon meringue pie with lashings of whipped cream for pudding; which could, to be truthful, have been more lemony. It would have required more zest, I felt. Still, it was also very good.

The café was moderately busy when we made our departure. The steak pie was £7.65; the ½ stew, a snip at £3; and pudding (ample for two!), £3.60.

They have a sister café at their Bushmills Garden Centre, where we've been many times. The grub is equally good there, too. We'll be back.

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