Saturday, 18 December 2010

Bistro Iona

It was touch and go as to whether we'd all be able to reach the restaurant last night for dinner, what with the wintry weather we've been experiencing. Nevertheless out taxi arrived at six, we collected my Godmother en route and arrived at our destination in Holywood, County Down, on time.

We were the first diners to arrive at Bistro Iona. I gave the waitress our wine - the Iona is not licensed - we removed our coats and were seated at a table beside the window.

The Iona has been refurbished since my last visit, which was admittedly a considerable time ago. It looks well, one side taken up by banquette seating; and new tables and chairs, too.

There was a good selection from the menu and I ordered the prawn cocktail, while the others ordered a deep-fried Camembert with cranberry chutney and salad. I chose the dressed venison burger with chunky chips for my main course; Janice and Godmother opted for the confit of duck; and my aunt had the salmon.

We were served the Iona's customary French bread slices in a basket with butter which remains a highlight of this little restaurant. They are always served warm and the butter melts on the bread. I always look forward to this.

We all enjoyed the meal: my prawn cocktail was served in a Martini glass with lettuce, accompanied by two small, triangular slices of wheaten bread. A minor point would be that I personally would have preferred the lettuce to have been shredded, because it took me awhile to cut it with my spoon; and the bread seemed slightly dry, so I'd have liked some butter on the side (though I did ask for more butter).

My venison burger was very meaty and filling. The chips were reminiscent of Tesco's Finest Oven Chips which is, actually, a compliment; though I simply do not know whether they were home-made or not. They seemed too perfect - if that's the term - to be home-made, though I have to say they were still good. I left one half of the burger roll and two big chips; so, apart from that, my plate was clean!

The others all liked their duck and salmon, though Godmother mentioned her duck being slightly chewy. Janice gave me a forkful of her duck and I thought it was delicious.

We consumed two and a half bottles of wine and, by the way, the corkage charge is a pound a bottle.

Handicapped visitors, beware of the flight of stairs which lead up to the Iona! They are quite steep, so hold on tightly to the banister as you descend, having indulged in a drink or two.


Irishlad said...

That's very reasonable for corkage.

Sandy said...

I take it you fell down the stairs in a heap Tim?

Timothy Belmont said...

Ha ha! Ladies before gentlemen, Sandy; I was well cushioned from the fall :-)

Timothy Belmont said...

Indeed, still an enjoyable place for an informal meal. The interior has been tastefully refurbished, too.