Best in Ulster: Browns road trip
Established in 2009 and winner of Best Restaurant in Ulster in 2016, Browns restaurant and its little off-shoot, Browns in Town have built quite the reputation in Derry since opening.
We were invited along on a road trip to visit both restaurants as part of a legacy event of last year’s Food and Drink year, Destination Derry.
Leaving Belfast at 4pm on a coach full of bloggers, journalists and media, we headed up over the Glenshane Pass and down into our first food destination of Browns in the Town. This showcase event introduced us to a number of local producers the company are proud to support in their restaurants. We enjoyed tasting local cheese, butter, meats, breads and vegetables at our first stop on our food tour.
Next stop was a celebratory dinner in Browns Restaurant with Chef Patron Ian Orr showcasing a bespoke menu created in celebration of ‘Destination Delicious’ – awarded to the city at Tourism NI’s Year of Food and Drink Awards
Ian did a stellar job as he stood at a mobile kitchen unit showing us how our celebration dinner was prepared. As he finished each course, the team arrived with our meals to enjoy. And we all certainly enjoyed!
As you can see above, our menu for the night was very local and of course was delicious. It was great to see the new NI signature dish included, Born and Braised. Everything from the Egg and scallops, the crab and apple, beef and beetroot to the rhubarb dessert was divine. Although I’m not a huge fan of beef cheek, many loved it. I did particularly love the Donegal Prime crab dish, even though it included, in my eyes anyway, the worst tasting and most commonly used vegetable, cucumber! That Rhubard parfait though, oh my, please sir I want some more!
One thing was guaranteed with a restaurant full of bloggers and media, cameras and phones were snapping away to get the best photo to show the amazing food at its best. And the photos were of course shared across social media. You dare not start eating until the photos are taken. I always say bloggers be bloggin and usually take a photo or two of the bloggers before I even get onto the food photos!
After dinner and en route home we stopped off in Ardtara Country House in Upperlands for a nightcap. Ardtara Country House has been named one of the 5 best places to stay in Northern Ireland by The National Geographic Traveler Magazine and is another Browns property. I had my wee pot of green tea rather than a whiskey nightcap and more than one shortbread treat to finish off a great food filled road trip.
• Established 2009 – The first fine food restaurant to open its doors in the city
• Committed to local produce and supporting local suppliers
• Only restaurants in Derry~Londonderry and Letterkenny listed in Michelin Guide 2017
• Winner of Best Restaurant in Ulster in 2016
• Winner of Best Resturant in Derry seven years in a row
• Named in Sunday Times Ireland Top 100 Irish Restaurants 2017
• Named one of the top 101 Great Irish Restaurants in Business Post 2017