This week I channelled my inner Gordon Ramsey and went to a special “pay only what you think it’s worth” night at the Anchorage restaurant at Sullivan Place in Holywood, County Down.
For two nights only (Friday 28 and Saturday 29 November), diners were given menus with no prices on them – and at the end of the meal, paid only what they thought the dishes were worth, based on taste, quality and size, for example. An interesting initiative, and one I had never experienced in person!
We booked a table for 7pm on Saturday and the place was already busy when we arrived. A Christmas tree lit up the restaurant and a band later arrived for a live set, so it was a nice, relaxed atmosphere.
With no idea of the prices (!), we set about ordering. For starters I choose the Pressed Ham Hock Terrine, Pickled Vegetables and Rocket Salad, while Barry picked the Goats Cheese Salad, Beetroot, Caramelised Walnuts, Orange Jelly and Rocket. Barry is a big fan of Goats Cheese and praised the big portion size.
For mains, I selected the Pan Seared Chicken Breast, Garlic Mash, Wilted Baby Spinach and Roast Pearl Onion Jus, while Barry opted for the Pork Belly, Buttery Kale, Black Pudding Beignets, Sautéed new Potatoes and Jus Gras. Again the portions were a very good size, particularly two large pieces of chicken in my dish.
Upon recommendation from the waiter, Barry and I decided to share the cheeseboard and the sorbet dish for our desserts. I couldn’t fault the cheeseboard. It was four blocks of cheese individually wrapped, served with crackers, chutney and frozen grapes, all set on a bed of straw. It looked (and tasted) amazing!
The four different flavours of sorbet was a lovely way to end the meal and cleanse the pallet, although I couldn’t eat much more at this stage!
The ‘Pay what it’s worth’ initiative definitely seems to have paid off and I’m sure it’s introduced a lot of new people to the restaurant. The Anchorage has just recently changed “it’s direction, ethos and menu” so I wish the guys well! It was a lovely night out.
Having looked at the actual prices on the way out the door, I’m pleased to see we were only a few pounds out in total! This Gordon Ramsey didn’t do too badly…
Me at the Anchorage