Review: Balloo House: a County Down institution

Balloo House is a bit of a County Down institution. Been in business for decades. I’ve eaten there numerous times, under different managers. Pleased to say that current management has got the place running very well: polite service, top-notch menu and delicious food

Balloo House is divided into two sections: gatropub/bistro downstairs, and cloth fine dining upstairs (with menu items priced about twice that of downstairs). For the upstairs restaurant, bookings/reservations essential, and they’re pretty much essential (but not required) downstairs too.

Latest experience was a Sunday lunch with wife and in-laws.

For starters, I had chicken liver parfait (pate). Very smooth texture. Served with thick cut lightly toasted fresh white bread (nice) and a red onion marmalade (not so nice; I wasn’t expecting the vinegar).

For mains, my companions had lamb roast (typical Ulster fare) and pork belly (not so typical), which, served with sweet potato puree, was a good choice.

Mine was Strangford crab, sweetcorn and scallion risotto with lobster basil butter. Gorgeous, and washed down well with a clean draft pint of Smithwicks. Was pleasantly surprised what appeared to be a small portion filled me up rightly.

Two courses with drinks total cost £80 (for four of us). On Sundays, there is a set menu for £23 each.
Balloo House deserves the high praise. With its locally sourced food and efficient service, it is the type of restaurant that I expect de rigeur Stateside but harder to find this side of the pond.

Location not public transport friendly, but is possible (Translink Ulterbus 511 from Belfast Laganside). Worth a car journey.

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