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AA Notable Wine List 2016-17
AA rating

About this rating

Restaurants are awarded from 1 to 5 Rosettes for culinary excellence. One Rosette restaurants are highly recommended in a local area and five Rosettes have reached the pinnacle of culinary excellence at a world class level.

Read more about AA ratings and awards

Ambitious contemporary cooking and river views

AA Inspector

At a glance

Open all year
Vegetarian menu
Tasting menu
Wines by the glass
Wheelchair access
Service charge

Surrounded by 163 acres of parkland with the River Maine flowing through, Galgorm is a pretty desirable prospect. There’s no excuse for boredom or failing to come to table with a hearty appetite here – unless, of course, you over-indulge in a lavish afternoon tea in the gorgeous conservatory lounge: lavish spa and treatment areas, including a Thermal Village, extensive meetings, conference and wedding facilities, a champagne and gin bar, a pub and live entertainment all add up to a package that ticks most people’s boxes. There’s a trio of dining options too, the pick of the bunch being the aptly named River Room Restaurant, where the fast-flowing river is floodlit at night to create a magical atmosphere and its floor-to-ceiling windows ensure that everyone gets the watery views. The kitchen sources its ingredients diligently from a network of local suppliers (and as you'd hope with all those acres out there, there's room for a kitchen garden to produce a haul of freshly plucked bounty) and, under the direction of Jonnie Boyd, transforms it all into vibrant contemporary dishes with a clear seasonal focus, delivered via a five-course taster or a well-composed à la carte. Things get off to a flyer with a well-crafted starter of succulent suckling pig, its richly flavoured belly and crunchy crackling boosted with the sweetness of heritage carrots, white raisins and an intense black pudding, or you might take a lighter route in with a luxurious duo of Dover sole and lobster with shellfish bisque, celeriac and celery. Next up, a main course of halibut and lobster arrives in a pretty-as-a-picture medley with silky hazelnut purée adding an earthy note to counterpoint lightly pickled parsnip, white cabbage and sea herbs – a masterclass of real flair and sensitivity towards the balance of components and their impact on the palate. Meat courses, too, show real skill and confidence – perhaps beef fillet and oxtail matched with oyster mushrooms, Roscoff onion, cavolo nero and foie gras. Desserts are a high point, especially when buttermilk pannacotta comes with the tart contrast of rhubarb, plus honey and the summer perfume of elderflower, or you might find the cheese trolley laden with Irish cheeses in prime condition a hard prospect to ignore. Everything, from the excellent home-made bread and inventive canapés to the superb petits fours is crafted with impressive attention to detail. Supporting it all is a wine list put together with authority and knowledge.

Also at this location

Opening hours

  • Open all year
  • Days closed: Monday to Tuesday
  • Closed for lunch: Wednesday to Saturday
  • Lunch served from: 1
  • Lunch served until: 4
  • Dinner served from: 6.30
  • Dinner served until: 9.30

Chef

  • Chef: Israel Robb, Jonnie Boyd

Food and drink

  • Cuisine style: Modern Irish
  • Vegetarian menu
  • Wines under £30: 40
  • Wines over £30: 220
  • Wines by the glass: 14

Price guide

  • Starter from 12
  • Main course from28
  • Dessert from7.50
  • Tasting menu from55
  • Service charge
  • Credit cards accepted

Accessibility

  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Accessible toilets
  • Assist dogs welcome

Facilities

  • Seats: 50
  • On-site parking available

Additional information

  • Seats: 50

Getting here

1 mile from Ballymena on A42, between Galgorm and Cullybackey

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Nearest train station

Ballymena, Cullybackey
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