I love it when I stumble across a hidden gem when I’m least expecting it. Granted it’s definitely harder these days as social media, for all its positives, pretty much ruins the element of surprise! So when I stumbled across a restaurant/farm shop up a windy side road near Newtownabbey I was pleasantly surprised to find somewhere new.
Sleepy Hollow as it turns out has been on the go for a few years and is an oasis of calm away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Offering a menu packed with traditional faves like Chicken Liver Pate, Fish and Chips and Scampi, but all with a very modern twist. I had the Braised Rib of Beef Bourginon which was beautiful and fell off the bone. I could have put the homemade individual Wheaten Bread in my mouth in one go, and the desserts, which included Rhubarb Crumble and Trio of Chocolate were so packed with flavour that I secretly wished they were jumbo instead of mini!
White table cloths even at lunch gives the restaurant a ‘posh’ feel, but the friendly staff, comfy food and reasonably priced menu made it very down to earth. You could easily go there on your own, with your other half or family and make sure to check out the dinner menu for extra options.
Unusual flavours, a broad choice and farm quality rolls of of the tongue when I talk about at Sleepy Hollow. Lunch is very reasonably priced – £14.50 for two courses and £16.50 for three… and trust me you won’t leave and head to the chippy as the ‘country’ portions will keep you full – even at lunchtime.
Many restaurants say they source locally and with Sleepy Hollow you can really believe it. Reason being, it has its own farm shop practically at the bottom of the garden – selling everything from meats and cheeses to homemade biscuits, chutneys, chocolates and breads. The lovely Lauren talked us through offers (20% off meat and sides on a Friday) Bargain! .. and a free wheaten with every purchase the day we were in. The place is usually packed with shoppers picking up meat for a BBQ, Sunday lunch ideas or just people like my friend who couldn’t get enough of the Blueberry Balsamic Vinegar and the Young Buck cheese, which is made in Newtownards and popping up on the menu of some of the province’s best restaurants.
I thought I would be smart and pick up a hamper so I could try a few things when I got home – a lot of which I have never tried before. Raspberry Jam with Shortcross Gin tastes lovely on my morning pancakes, the Pear and Saffron Chutney tastes delish on cheese and my mum says the Beetroot Relish sets off her summer salads perfectly.
I’d say I will be working my way through my hamper of summer goodies for quite some time. We all know those places around the country we would happily drive to if they offer something different. Well G Spotters! Sleepy Hollow is that place – you heard it here first!
Contact www.sleepyhollowrestaurant.com or @SleepyHollowNI
Spotting local hidden gems from the world of beauty, health, fashion, tourism and hospitality. I have my ear to the ground (quite literally) to keep you up to date about the new or interesting products and services from our neck of the woods. If you know one – get in touch on twitter @grainnemcgarvey or at www.pulseprni.com