At the weekend we had the privilege of dining in Galgorm Resort and Spa’s famous River Room Restaurant. Thanks to Galgorm for their kind invite.
The River Room embodies the ethos of Galgorm in its menu and dishes offering a unique and memorable dining experience.
It is one of four restaurants in Northern Ireland to be awarded 3 AA Rosettes for culinary excellence. Head Chef Chris Rees creates dishes that are true to the ingredients, showcasing local artisan producers with menus that change daily. The menus are packed with seasonal ingredients sourced from carefully selected local suppliers and the Resorts very own kitchen garden, all imaginatively served to complement an extensive wine list.
The River Room Restaurant is set in absolutly beautiful grounds so we recommend you taking a walk around either before or after your meal. With views of the river from your dining table it is a wonderfully unique dining experience which changes through the seasons. It is incredibly beautiful during the winter months.
Two Courses cost £40 and Three Courses costs £50. The extra £10 is well worth spending for the full experience as every course is mind-blowing. The amount of food is perfectly proportioned and the meal is well paced so it is easy to enjoy all three courses.
The meal begins with canapés. The canapés that evening came as two separate ‘dishes’. The first being Black Pudding Beignet with apple puree and also Smoked Eel on seaweed cracker followed by the Amuse-Bouche and accompanying Sourdough & Irish Butter The sourdough bread was served warm with beautiful local butter and sea salt. All of which wonderfully complimented each other. The Amuse-Bouche served was a delicious Sweetcorn Veloute with crispy chicken skin presented in glassware which really allowed you to enjoy the wonderful presentation of the dish.
Now on to the starters. We had the Duck Egg, Girolles, Gnocchi, Leeks, and Parmesan. The duck egg was beautifully cooked with a tremendous rich flavour from the egg yolk as you would expect from a duck egg. All beautifully presented on top of four pieces of gnocchi and dressed with the leeks and parmesan. Everything just worked in this dish. All the flavours and textures complimented each other. The other starter we had was Local Rabbit & Ham, Crispy Potato, Summer Truffle, Peas and Black Garlic. This also came presented like a piece of art. The rabbit and ham worked excellently together in this dish. All of the accompaniments not only complimented the main dish but made it almost too beautiful to want to eat.
Already having had some incredibly dishes we are now onto the mains. For main I had Monkfish, Curry, Mussels, Broad Beans and Cauliflower. This was another work of art. The fillet of monkfish was incredibly fresh and so perfectly cooked it just fell apart at the touch of the fork. The dish was encircled with a delicate curry sauce which worked well with the flavours of the monkfish and accompaniments. We also had Beef Fillet & Foie Gras, Garlic Scapes, Braised Onion and Local Carrots. The beef fillet was cooked to perfection as requested medium rare. Which was absolutly spot on. The foie gras was packed with flavour and some of the best quality we have tasted. Again, like with all the dishes the accompaniments all brought this dish to life and enhanced all the flavours of the main ingredients.
The desserts are a course which for obvious reasons I always look forward to the most. The unfortunate thing is that with most meals by the time you get to the dessert course you are very very full and do not enjoy it. But this whole meal in The River Room was so well paced that you have time to enjoy and digest the food between each course and each course is the perfect size. The dessert I opted for was Glazed Pineapple, Mango Parfait, Coconut with Dark Rum. This was a very refreshing and light dessert and finished my meal off perfectly. The pineapple was beautifully grilled and served with the mango parfait it was a perfect partnership of flavours. We also chose the Warm Polenta Cake, Soft Meringue, Apricot and Local Honey. When polenta cake appears on the menu I always make an effort to try it. It can be done either well or terribly. I was excited as based on all the other courses this was going to be something to look forward to and I was not disappointed. The cake was moist and delicately flavoured which was complimented by the sweet flavours of the apricot and local honey. I could have eaten this 4 times over.
The meal was finished off with Coffee & Petits Fours. This is a wonderful finish to a delicious meal. This is definitely not a rushed meal. Totally relaxed and paced There were several coffees to choose from and the petit fours arrived along with the coffee. On the night these consisted of pistachio macarons, caramel and vanilla chocolate and an interesting cherry pastil. Every mouthful was a burst of flavour.
The whole evening was finished off by a trip to The Gin Library. Yes you did read that right. The only library where I have been where there wasn’t a book in sight. Instead there were alphabetised bottles of gin lining every shelf. It’s quite a sight to see and you could spend hours looking at all the different gins and reading about their unique flavours. Jonny one of the barmen and gin experts was able to tell us about any gin we randomly picked and explained how he passionately hunts out new gins to order into the hotels Gin Library to increase its collection. At the moment it is over 400 different gins. You could visit a hundred times and still not try all those on offer. If you visit Galgorm for anything at all, make sure you visit the Gin Library. Even for a look!