A few weeks back we visited the award-winning Wine & Brine restaurant in Moira. We’ve been following the progress of the restaurant from afar, having first come across owner and head chef, Chris McGowan on the hit TV show, Great British Menu. We had been meaning to get along before now, but as with many things, we kept putting it off – this wasn’t for the want of trying though, but the birth of our baby and building our new home just limited our free time over the past 24 months.
As a gift for leaving my old job, the guys at The Tomorrow Lab in Belfast got me a voucher for Wine & Brine as I’d obviously mentioned it on more than one occasion :-). The voucher was the kick up the backside we needed, and so we put a date in the diary and made our way from Newcastle to Moira (about a 45 minute drive, but well worth it). We visited Wine & Brine on a Saturday and got in just as the restaurant was getting busy, always a good sign.
Fab Food at Wine & Brine
First impressions of the dining space were good, and the smell coming from the kitchen had us licking our lips. We were looking forward to a fabulous feast, and as it turned out, we wouldn’t be disappointed. Read on to discover more about our evening at Wine & Brine. The menu offered plenty of choice, and as we made our order we decided to get some grilled flatbread with parsley and harissa dips as an appetiser. This certainly got our taste buds going and had us excited for the starters.
Starters at Wine & Brine
Crispy Hen’s Egg
For the starter I opted for the crispy hen’s egg from the daily specials menu. The hen’s egg had a crisp, golden crumb on the outside with the yolk perfectly soft in the middle. It was served with creamy mash and pulled ham knuckle with a parsely dressing. This was a real fresh dish, with the ham, mash and egg providing a real warmth and homely feel to the meal. This was ham, egg and potato truly elevated to a fine dining standard.
Helen opted for the shellfish cocktail from the main menu. This was a lovely, light and zingy starter served with a succulent, crispy scallop. The shellfish included prawns and brown shrimp and had a slice of homemade wheaten bread on the side. A great start to the evenings eating.
Main Course at Wine & Brine
Short Rib of Beef
Next up was the main course, and once again there was plenty to choose from, and it was hard to decide on one course. In the end I opted for the short rib of beef which was served with beef tendon, chimichurri and mash. A real hearty dish that was packed full of flavour, the beef rib was wonderfully soft and just fell apart when the fork came into contact with it.
The silky mash was a great combination, with some pork crackling adding texture to the dish. We got a side of chips to enjoy with the dish, and overall this was a very tasty main, and one I would highly recommend if you’re visiting Wine & Brine.
28 Day Dry Aged Fillet
Helen went for the fillet steak for her main course. The 28-day aged fillet was wonderfully cooked, served with onion rings and a rich Bearnaise sauce. With a side of chips and summer greens this was another great course, with the sauce a particular highlight and full of flavour.
Desserts at Wine & Brine
Final course was dessert, and while we’d enjoyed a great starter and main, and were starting to get full, we’d just left enough space to squeeze in a dessert. As with the starters and mains, there was plenty of choice when it came to the dessert, we were eagerly looking forward to tucking in.
While the rhubarb souffle caught the eye on the menu, I decided to go with the savarin as it was a cake I had never tried. The savarin was light and served with a lavendar syrup which was needed. The fresh peach slices and raspberries brought a real kick of summer to the dish, while the vanilla cream just added that something creamy that was needed to bring it all together.
Helen finished with a slice of chocolate cake which was served with black cherry and a cherry jam, ice cream and a cherry sorbet fan. If you’re a fan of cherries and dark chocolate then this is a dessert for you. A winning combination with the chocolate and cheery providing a rich, luxurious end to the meal.
The Bill & Verdict
Our first trip to Wine & Brine was certainly a rewarding one as the food certainly hit the spot. There is plenty of choice on the menu and a lot of dishes we’d be keen to try on our next visit. As well as the three course’s and flatbread snack to start, we got two sides with our main, a bottle of sparkling water, soft drink and decaf tea to finish. We even got some tasty chocolate truffles to take home!!
The final bill amounted to £99, so we certainly got the maximum value from our voucher. The service was first class, and the food and setting both added to an enjoyable dining experience. We’d certainly recommend Wine & Brine if you’re looking for a quality dining experience in Northern Ireland that doesn’t require you heading to Belfast.
Until next time, happy dining.
Helen, Nial and Lewis.