IT BEGAN with champagne and had a strawberry finale - it was a taste-fest to celebrate The Premier’s first birthday.
Hard to believe Lurgan’s latest gastro-bar has been open for 12 months and it has evolved into a delicious venue for lunch and evening meals.
With the emphasis on delectable dining and jazzy/blues music, The Premier has a city-chic yet cosy atmosphere.
On Saturday night we were greeted with a glass of champagne and a bread basket some tapenade and a bowl of olives. The tapenade was particularly delicious on the sweet bread.
For starters my friend Jim had the puree of curried organic parsnip soup served with some more freshly baked breads and topped with coriander oil. It was quickly devoured and judging by the interesting nods and noises, very well received.
I had the rare beef and kitchen sink salad topped with whiskey and mustard mayo and organic herbs. The beef was delicious and well complemented with the herby rocket and sauce.
As a main course we both had the 10oz dry aged Dexter Irish steak topped with bushmills peppercorn sauce, buttermilk onion rings and triple cooked chips. It was a flavoursome cut of beef and cooked perfectly medium rare for both of us.
The attentive staff were all too ready to recommend the Eton Mess for encore. It was a meringue with organic strawberries and topped with fresh cream. A veritable tastebud treat. Jim had the Spiced Armagh apple and berry crumble and ice cream which he thoroughly enjoyed.
The ambiance was enhanced by the blues/jazz music of regular duo Gypsy’s Wish.
Painted deep purple with quotes engraved in gold lettering, it was a relaxing aura for dining. The music influence floats through the entire decor - books on guitars laying on a shelf and posters of the Beatles and Jimi Hendrix. With moody lighting and mandolins, the quotes from Jim Morrison ‘Music inflames temperament’ and Jimi Hendrix ‘Music doesn’t lie’ sets the tone.
The evening was rounded off with a Mojito - Cuban White Rum poured over Cracked ice, muddled mind, brown sugar and lime wedges stirred and fizzed with sparkling water.
I discovered the chef who has leased the downstairs as the new gastro-lounge is Stephen Hughes who worked at the Paul Rankin group under chef Andy Rea. Stephen was sous chef for Andy in the award-winning Mourne Seafood Bar in Belfast for four years. He helped build McCrackens in Belfast into an award winning gastro pub winning awards at the Fata awards and Irish Restaurant Awards as well as receiving excellent critical reviews.
The sports and music bar is still pumping on the second floor and I’m looking forward to the Rock and Roast and all day brunch affair this Sunday.
From 8th June The Premier will be providing weekly entertainment on the second floor to allow people to go from the gastro lounge if they want a dance the night away.
Two different entities on each level, a taste-fest on the ground floor at the bistro and lots of sport and music on the second floor.
And after a delicious meal on Saturday night I would highly recommended it.