The Graduate Restaurant as part of the East Campus at the Southern Regional College in Patrick Street wouldn't immediately strike you as the perfect place to dine in style, with top quality food and an ambience to match, but as in many things in life the best gems are often the hidden ones.
The Graduate is a perfect shop window for the colleges Hospitality, Catering and Tourism students to showcase their skills as well as provide invaluable training.
The restaurant organises Themed Evenings on Tuesday nights which are open to anyone as long as you have booked. The evenings are so popular that they are completely booked out at present and your next chance to give it a try will be at the start of September when the new themed evenings are announced.
As well as these evenings the Restaurant is open lunchtime Monday to Friday at 12.30pm for a three course meal costing £7.50 and menus change daily.
This years themed evenings so far have included "A Taste of Ireland", "Little Italy", "The name is Bond" as well as "The Wild West" themed night organised by students Joanne and John attended by ourselves at newry.ie
If all Restaurants were as packed on a Tuesday night there would be no recession but no wonder with the price for the entire experience (not including any drinks you order from the licensed bar) being just £16!
With the waiting staff and management all dressed in their cowboy and cowgirl gear and the country music flowing I was just waiting for Buffalo Bill to park his horse in the Sports Centre Car park next door (clampers permitting) but fortunately or unfortunately the only Buffalo was on the plate!
The Seven Course meal started with a Choux Paste bun Canapé with dill cream cheese and smoked salmon, a most beautiful creation.
Being adventurous I opted for a Starter of Ravioli of Lobster and Crab with chive cream and lobster foam, a most delicious starter.
The Velouté of potato and leek soup and cayenne puff straw followed, steaming hot and full of flavour. Together with the garlic and cheese bread it went down a treat.
A Sorbet of iced apple and raspberry followed to stimulate the palate for my main course.
Four main courses included a meat feast, supreme of chicken, sesame and herb hake and Chicken Pappadelle! I opted for the Roasted chestnut and chicken Pappadelle with basil pesto oil, which came with strips of pasta coated in a delicious light sauce that enhanced the chicken and crunchy chestnut. This was complimented with Sauté potatoes, Ratatouille and buttered carrots and green beans. The range of flavours I could only begin to describe.
With not a crumb left on the plate a dessert of Cinnamon coated choux, pineapple and banana fritters with butterscotch sauce and honeycomb ice cream was the final nail that sent me well on the way to food heaven … and weighing scales hell! Tea and petit fours finished off the meal, the end of a wonderful night.
I can safely say it is a long time since every single course I had in a meal was exceptional but this time they definitely were.