Our Game of Thrones-themed road trip along the coast of Northern Ireland ended in the coastal town of Newcastle. Here, we had a lovely dinner at Brunel’s, a local restaurant owned by chef Paul Cunningham. He only works with local, seasonal and fresh produce, so let’s have a look at what that was like:
BRUNEL’S RESTAURANT – NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND
The Brunel’s Restaurant Story
From their website:
Head Chef Paul Cunningham always wanted to work with local, seasonal, fresh produce. He was inspired from a very early age by his grandfather, and Paul still has fond memories of his role model teaching him about respecting the landscape, about using the earth to grow fresh fruit and vegetables, and about the best spots on his doorstep to selectively forage the wonderful shellfish, sea vegetables and herbs that were readily available, if you knew where to look. It is these formative early memories of time spent outdoors with his grandfather that has had a very positive impact on his style of ingredients-led cuisine, for which he is known today.
Born in 1806, Isambard Brunel became one of the most ingenious and prolific figures in engineering history, building dockyards, railways and steamships but some of the most iconic bridges ever seen, the Clifton Suspension Bridge & the Maidenhead Railway Bridge. Among his most notable designs were the three steam powered, iron hulled ships, which transformed the face of naval transportation, the SS Great Western, the SS Great Britain and the SS Great Eastern. When the SS Great Britain was launched in 1843, she was the first iron steamer to cross the Atlantic. The story goes that Brunel himself arrived at the coast to oversee the resurrection of the ship from the dangerous tides of Dundrum Bay and whilst staying in the Dundrum Hotel he fell in love with the scenic coastal area and decided to stay for a significant time after the ship was rescued. The SS Great Britain was returned to service and continued on to spend the next 30 years transporting emigrants to Australia, bulk transportation of coal to the Falkland Islands and then eventually was brought back to her native shores to be restored and can this day be seen in Bristol Floating Harbour and it’s anchor can be seen proudly on display at the Harbour in Newcastle, Co Down.
THE TRAVEL TESTER IN ACTION
1. What does it SOUND like?
We arrived just when the weather outside had decided to go mental. Incredible strong wind, that nearly knocked us off our feet and rain starting to kick in. Sounded like an apocalypse was happening!
Perhaps they organised it like this, because what is nicer to be able to go into a warm restaurant to hide from the outside world?
2. What does it LOOK like?
Looking at the interior, which was all nautical-themed, I could only smile at the weather, because I can imagine in the days of the explorers things must have been a lot rougher than we just experienced!
3. What does it TASTE like?
I was happy with the menu, as it seemed really well balanced. Not too much choice, which always freaks me out in restaurant. There were a lot of seafood options, which makes sense being so close to the ocean, but if you’re more into meat, there were definitely some great options here too!
Our guide ordered a couple of sides, such as this lovely mash and fried onions
As a main, I went for the pan seared County Down (so also local!) chicken breast with charred baby corn, parmesan polenta chips, broad beans and black garlic puree. Another great choice, if I can say so myself!
4. What does it FEEL like?
I really liked the local feel of the restaurant and the cozy interior. Very pleasant!
5. What does it SMELL like?
All the food served was nice a hearty, with some great smells! I went with this amazing seafood chowder as a starter, because it said it was local, which I always try to choose for when I travel. Tasted as amazing as it smelled and looked!
After our 5-senses test, we’re ready to answer our final (and perhaps most important) question in our Brunel’s Restaurant Review:
6. Does this restaurant make us happy?
If you’re looking for a cozy restaurant to warm up and enjoy some great local food, then Brunel’s is a great option. It was full of locals and the atmosphere was great as well! I love that this restaurant had a good selection of seafood and that all of the ingredients were local. Definitely worth to pay a visit if you’re in Newcastle in Northern Ireland!
VISIT BRUNEL’S YOURSELF!
9-11 Bryansford Rd, Newcastle BT33 0HJ Northern Ireland
Monday & Tuesday: 10:00-14:30
Wednesday to Sunday: 10:00-14:30 & 17:30–21:30
Read our other blogs about Northern Ireland here:
Disclaimer: I visited Northern Ireland on invitation of Visit Britain and Tourism Northern Ireland as part of the #OMGB campaign. All opinions and photos in this article are 100% my own!