Translink Tasty Travel Tours

Translink has a range of day tours from Belfast including shopping at Kildare Village or Tayto Park fairground in County Meath. But they will soon be starting food and drink tours due to their rising popularity in Northern Ireland.

I was very lucky to get the chance to be on one of the pilot tours, named Tasty Travel Tours, to see what’s on offer!

We met at Europa Bus Station before boarding the bus to go to our first stop, Indie Fude in Comber.

Indie Fude is an independent supplier of produce from around the island of Ireland, from cheeses and meats, to oils and chocolate. Some of the local producers include Balinteer Farm, Love Olive, Burren Balsamics, North Coast Smokehouse and Suki Tea (amongst many, many more).

At Indie Fude we were treated to a cheese tasting in the store’s dedicated “Cheese Room” before exploring the shop where I picked up some local favorites – Abernethy Butter, Broighter Gold Rapeseed oil, Corndale Farm chorizo and Eastcoast Seafood smoked chilli cheese.

We then headed to the home of the award -winning ShortCross Gin at Rademon Estate in County Down. I was really excited to tour the distillery as it’s one of my favourite gins, but first we were served lunch by The Edible Flower.

Having run a successful supper club in their East London home, Erin & Jo founded The Edible Flower in 2016 back in Northern Ireland. The Edible Flower is a fork to fork supper club and catering company so the food was delicious, as you can imagine.

We then did a tour of the distillery, which was fascinating, before learning how to serve the best G&T with a gin masterclass!

This 6-hour long tour was a great insight into local food and drink and I think the concept is a great move for Translink! I’ll let you know when they are up and running!

Check out all my videos from the day.

Indie Food

Lunch by The Edible Flower

Shortcross gin

Touring the distillery

Indie Food purchases


Ballycastle Food Tour

Last Saturday I got the chance to explore a place I hadn’t been to for a very long time- Ballycastle.

I was invited to take part in a unique foodie walking tour to sample the delights and flavours of the coastal town in the Causeway Coast and Glens.

Now, I have to admit I wasn’t sure what to expect; as a seaside town, was it going to be fish and chips, followed by a ‘poke’ from the ice-cream van?

The foodie walking tour of Ballycastle was organised to coincide with the start of the Rathlin Sound Maritime Festival, delivered by local food guide, Caroline Redmond.

We arrived at 10am at the Marina Visitor Centre where immediately we could tell this was going to impress- Caroline’s obvious enthusiasm and passion for the town, its inhabitants and, of course, its food meant we were in for a treat.

So, off we went and just a short distance down the road, arrived at the Bay Café. And what a better way to start a food tour than with a spot of breakfast- an all-local mini ulster fry. The fry came complete with soda bread, potato bread, black pudding, sausage, tomatoes and egg. As well as the food being very tasty (I can’t wait to go back and get a full fry!), the views from the café over the water were stunning.

We then hit the road and walked up to  Thyme & Co, just in time for tempting elevenses. There, we tried Pear and Almond Scones, Parmesan and Kelp scones, wheaten bread, Strawberry and Prosecco jam (to die for!), Islander Kelp pesto and Pistachio cake. Everything was delicious and I think we were all sorry to go, as we could have stayed and eaten more!

But it wasn’t long before we were eating again. Our third course was in Central Wine Bar were we tried a heart-warming seafood chowder made from locally caught fish from Morton’s. The bar is renowned for its chowder so it didn’t disappoint (nor did the Guinness wheaten bread it was served with!)

Sticking with seafood, we then crossed just over the road to O’Connor’s traditional Irish bar for our daily special- hake. The deliciously flaky hake was served with two locally brewed Glens of Antrim Ale, Rathlin Red and Lizzie’s blonde.

Then it was time for the sweet stuff! We walked up to Castle Street to the independent bakehouse, Ursa Minor where we sampled an unbelievable array of patisserie. The story of the little bakery is so interesting- it got up and running through crowdfunding website, Kickstarter so everyone who helped contribute small amounts of money has their name on the wall! Lovely idea! The owner Ciara came to talk to us about how she only uses fresh, seasonal ingredients, with many of them sourced from foraging and sometimes even the local community (i.e. rhubarb!)

It was a spectacular morning exploring the foodie goodness around Ballycastle; I have to say, I was so impressed! It really wasn’t what I expected.

Caroline was the perfect host and she really has shown me that little ol’ Ballycastle has restaurants, bars, bakeries and cafes to rival the best of the best in Northern Ireland!

Mix and Mingle at Europa Hotel

Last week I had the pleasure of taking part in a Cocktail Masterclass at the Europa Hotel with my fellow NI bloggers!

The event called ‘Mix and Mingle’ organised by Hasting Hotels was a chance for us all to get together, have a laugh and try our hand at cocktail making with the infamous Europa mixologist Paddy!

Paddy has won numerous awards for his craft around the world, so it was great to see and hear from him about which flavours go best together and what should be shaken and what should be stirred!

We were treated to a great selection of cocktails and ‘mocktails’ (non-alcoholic), including the delicious Irish Smile!

What a great night- and a good excuse to catch up with fellow food and drink fans!




St George’s of the Market

Last week I was invited down to try out the restaurant, George’s of the Market (previously known as the St George’s Market Bar and Grill.)

The restaurant has overlooked the Market for the past 15 years but recently underwent a rebrand. It’s renowned for using ingredients straight from the market floor so I was looking forward to tasting the local, fresh dishes.

Barry and I went on Thursday night and I was delighted to meet two old schoolfriends, Sarah and Carrie, whom I hadn’t seen since we were 18 years old- 13 years ago! Incidentally, they were heading to the ballet so had just eaten but said they had an enjoyable meal.

The restaurant is very large with an open-plan kitchen so you can see the chefs cook in front of you. The setting is really lovely- particularly the spectacular feature windows.

We were given two menus- the pre-theatre and the á la carte menu. As it was 7pm, we could have eaten of the pre-theatre which runs until 7.30, but other dishes on the main menu caught our eye. The pre-theatre is two courses for £14.00 and 3 courses for £16.50.

Stunning decor of St George’s of the Market

For starters I picked the Vegetarian Bruschetta (£4.75) because it was the cheese which grabbed my attention. The dish is a large piece of Cooleeney Cheese (a creamy/buttery cheese with a white mould rind, made in Tipperary) with roasted red pepper and spinach served on grilled bread. I really enjoyed the dish as I’m a big fan of soft Brie and Cambembert-like cheeses anyway. Barry went for the Arglass Mussels (£6.50), which came with Chorizo, white wine and herbs and served with a side of wheaten. I’m not a fan of seafood so didn’t try the mussels but I did try the sauce they were served in which was tasty.

Cooleeney Cheese

Arglass Mussels

For mains, I was torn between the 6oz Irish Beef Burger (£12.95) and the Gnocchi (£12.95). In the end I went for the Gnocchi (another vegetarian dish) as Barry choose the Burger so I knew I could have a bite of his to taste!

The Gnocchi came with pumpkin, peas, sage and parmesan cheese. There was no sauce accompaniment, just drizzled with olive oil I think, so I would have liked a little bit more flavour. Again, Barry enjoyed his burger to which he added bacon (extra £1) and blue cheese (extra £1).


Burger and ‘skin on fries’

Finally for dessert I had my heart set on the Raspberry Ruffle cheesecake but sadly, they had run out! It must have been good! Barry was really full so could only manage some ice-cream while I picked the Petit Four. This was a mixture of fugde, chocolate truffles, berries and jellies. For me the highlight was the rich chocolate truffles covered in white chocolate- wow! Once I’d finished the first, I was delighted to tuck into the second! I would have preferred something other than a second piece of fudge but that’s only because I’m not a huge fan of fudge in general.

 Selection of desserts

Petit Fours

All in all, it was a nice meal and the setting really made it. I’ve heard the Ulster Fry is its signature dish so I reckon I’ll have to get down to try it! Thanks to St George’s of the Market for inviting me!

Disclaimer: this meal was complimentary but views expressed are my own