Daft Eddy's Restaurant and Bar.
Standing above the sea scape of Strangford Lough where it meets the shore line of Sketrick Island, is a wonderful quaint and historic restaurant and bar known as Daft Eddy’s.
I remember when I first heard the name thinking that it sounded more like a night club with bodies gyrating to the early hours, and not the seafood specialist restaurant that its reputation portrays. It is true that if you pass through County Down in Northern Ireland you could easily miss the treat that is in store for you here, as it is only lightly directed from Newtownards by the tourists brown sign posts that simply state ‘Daft Eddy’s.’
In fact this little gem is full of history, and if you are of a romantic nature, as am I, you will be enthralled to listen to the endless tales of smugglers and rogues, of whom there are still some afloat on the water today. Although the outside of the restaurant is now totally renovated, and the first thing that catches your eye is the little coffee shop supplying delicious coffee and tray bakes to tempt you, the main building still remains, and it is in here that you will experience the atmosphere of the bygone days when smuggling was indeed a very important way of earning a living in these parts. This is not a restaurant bar for the young looking for a lively night out, unless that is you are a local young man enjoying the panorama on your doorstep, and the wonderful satisfying drink of the black stuff, a lovely pint of Guinness. Although ‘Daft’s’ as it is affectionately known, is a bar full of local characters willing to frighten the pants off you with their tales of the Ghost ship that once sailed on the Lough, or enthral you with the tales of smuggling from a bygone age. The atmosphere here is friendly, and once you are accustomed to the local welcome, it is a place that you want to visit time and time again.
The restaurant is small in comparison to other venues in the locality, but it is never superseded by the fantastic views that just silence you, and take your breath away. No matter what the season, the beautiful surroundings always have something to offer. As one local man who frequents the restaurant every Wednesday lunchtime has put it, “I have visited many places worldwide that are stunning and in comparison with Daft’s, but they are not just the same.”
The interior could benefit from a coat of paint, the tables and chairs are getting past their sell by date, but the staff is always welcoming, attentive and polite; I should know, I recently joined them. Behind the efficiency that the staff portray, is the abounding love and affection for the place in which they work. The menu is in keeping with the local traditions and fare of the area, with sea food, fish and venison taking the lead from steak, pasta, award winning locally produced sausages and the dish of the day on the specials menu, which is usually fish of some variety, with local farmed salmon high on the list. From the moment you enter through the door, you are made to feel that you are the most important visitor this year; a feeling that many people have gotten used to in so many ways.
This is a sample of the current menu to tempt your taste buds:-
Homemade soup served with fresh bread
£ 4.50 GBP
Garlic sautee Strangford Lough crab claws with crispy toasts and lemon and parsley mayonnaise
£ 6.75 GBP
Selection of breads with tapenade, oils & chilli cream cheese
£ 4.95 GBP
Irish goat's cheese with ginger & hazelnut crumb, beetroot, organic baby leaves & raspberry dressing
£ 5.95 GBP
Prawns Marie-Rose with Walter's smoked salmon and homemade Guinness & wheaten bread
£ 6.50 GBP
Chicken liver & brandy pate with toasted brioche, sticky red onions and port sauce
£ 6.25 GBP
Pan roasted organic Glenarm salmon fillet with watercress salad, roasted red pepper sauce and caper vinaigrette (S)
£ 12.95 GBP
Whole pan roasted fish of the day with lemon, prawn & caper butter (S)
Seared 14oz dry-aged Angus Sirloin steak garni (S)
£ 20.50 GBP
Seared 10oz Irish fillet steak garni (S)
£ 22.95 GBP
Crispy polenta cake with ratatouille, basil pesto and parsnip crisps (S)
£ 12.50 GBP
Pan-roasted supreme of chicken with honey-roasted chantonay carrotts, cauliflower puree acute and cider & grain mustard jus (S)
£ 12.75 GBP
Grilled naturally smoked Ardglass haddock with parmesan and herb crumb, baby spinach, asparagus and lemon & parsley veloute (S)
£ 12.95 GBP
Daft Eddy's homemade burger with Cambazola cheese, bacon & Ballymaloe tomato relish (S)
£ 9.75 GBP
Fresh battered Portavogie scampi with homemade tartare sauce
£ 12.95 GBP
Daft Eddy's fresh fish in beer batter with homemade tartare sauce and pea puree;
£ 11.50 GBP
Homemade Steak & Guinness pie
£ 9.95 GBP
Fresh cut chips £ 2.75
Criss cuts £2.75
Baby boiled potatoes £2.75
Garlic sautéed potatoes £2.75
Mixed salad £2.75
Seasonal vegetables £2.75
Brandy and peppercorn sauce £2.95
Daft Eddy’s sauce £2.95
Garlic King Prawns £4.95
Garlic crab claws £5.25
All dishes marked with (S) come with a choice of side order
Sitting in the beer garden you can sense the feeling of camaraderie and friendship that exudes from every table, no matter if you are a local or just a visitor to the area. It isn’t unusual from this view point to share your lunch with a friendly dog or two, not strays but visitors too, and are able to watch children paddling in the shallow water lapping over the shore. For the not so faint of heart, you can see the water skiers, sailors, swimmers and families splashing around in the water on a sunny day, but the water is extremely cold. It is no wonder that most water enthusiasts wear wet suits.
If you are fortunate to be in the vicinity of Daft Eddy’s, please take time to seek the restaurant out and experience a little gem in a troubled world for yourself.
Beauty all year around.
Water for the adventurous.
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