At the weekend Phill and I took the thirty minute drive from Belfast to Bangor to dine at the Clandeboye Lodge brasserie ‘Coq & Bull’. We’d been to a wedding at Clandeboye many years ago but we hadn’t been back since. Coq & Bull has been in existence for a good few years now and we were invited down to sample their new menu. It’s an impressively extensive menu featuring lots of classic crowd pleasers like prawn cocktail and chicken pie. There was very much an emphasis on fresh local produce and I liked that there were plenty of fish dishes to choose from and a range of different vegetable sides such as cumin roasted baby carrots and courgetti.
We both loved the Coq & Bull interior. We were seated in a beautiful tan leather booth with a good view of the entire brasserie. We loved the velvet teal chairs and the elegant glassware and cutlery. It had a real feeling of understated elegance. It was modern feeling yet cosy. The restaurant staff were all extremely polite and well trained and for an indecisive diner like myself I really appreciated that the Restaurant Manager helped me decide what dishes to go for.
For starters I had the Portavogie prawn tail salad with black Irish wheaton and old fashioned Marie Rose sauce. This was the perfect starter size for me – not too big and not too small. The prawns were small and plump and covered in a beautiful tasting Marie Rose sauce. The wheaton bread was a fab accompaniment to the prawns. Phill went for the buttermilk fried squid with pickled red cabbage, garlic and tarragon aoili. Again, all elements to his dish were tasty and the waitress took away two very clean plates.
I stuck with the fish theme and for my main course choose the pan fried fillet of sea bream with warm Comber potato salad, garden peas, butter and fresh basil. Phill meanwhile opted for the 12oz sirloin steak with beef dripping chips, roasted vine tomatoes and bone marrow gravy on the side. We also indulged in some beer battered onion rings.
My sea bream dish was super fresh and filling. The fish was cooked beautifully and was incredibly tender to eat. Again it was the perfect size of main for me. Phill adored his steak. He asked for it medium-rare and that’s exactly what he got. The bone marrow gravy really elevated the dish as it was incredibly rich and morish. Is bone marrow gravy now a thing I wonder? I’ve seen it pop up on a number of menus of late.
I liked that both mains were served on what I would call normal sized plates. So often now you are served food on huge plates, which I’m not a huge fan of. Bring back smaller plates I say!
For Phill there was no other choice for dessert but the hot chocolate and salted caramel pudding. This ticked the sweet tooth box and he finished the third and final course no problem. I meanwhile couldn’t make up my mind between the strawberry shortcake and the apple pie. In the end, I thought I’d go for the more summery sounding strawberry shortcake but was left a bit disappointed with it. It was a tower of three shortcakes, each layered with slivers of strawberry and finished off with a tiny amount of cream. Prosecco jelly was served on the side. For me, it needed more creaminess. It was just a bit dull and I didn’t finish it – which is so unlike me!
All in all, our Coq & Bull experience was brilliant. The food, the service and the surroundings were all great and the journey to Bangor was well worth it!
Full disclosure: My partner and I received a complimentary three course evening meal in return for a written food review. All images, words and opinions are me own.