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Inn for a treat; JOANNE FRIEL FALLS LOUGH, STOCK AND BARREL FOR MANY CHARMS OF CUSTOMS HOUSE INN, BELCOO, CO FERMANAGH.

Byline: DANNY BOY

AFAMILY homecoming was my excuse to organise a visit to a restaurant I'd heard a lot about recently. Just a few miles down the road from my home town, Fiddlesticks at the Customs House Country Inn in Belcoo, was somewhere I had been meaning to check out for a long time... We called at very short notice but were gratefully accommodated with a Saturday early evening booking.

We expected it to be pretty quiet ahead of the weekend rush but even at this stage the restaurant had a nice atmospheric buzz.

Nestled in the picturesque village of Belcoo and overlooking Lough McNean and Fermanagh's famous Hanging Rock, the Customs House Inn is home to a wine bar, restaurant and function room and nine fabulous ensuite bedrooms.

Soft lighting and nice background music added to the very relaxed atmosphere of the bar and restaurant. We were seated promptly and there was no shortage of very friendly staff on hand to look after us.

We were given a choice of two menus which meant we were spoilt for choice.

The menu had lots of side dishes and sauces on offer too and there was even a range of bar snacks available.

A brilliant range of wines was on offer too, plus a "mini wine menu" with a great selection of 250ml bottles - it's nice to get such a wide variety of quarter bottles when you're not able to indulge with the real thing. We eventually decided to share two starters of bruschetta with red onion marmalade and chorizo sausage and the organic smoked salmon on wheaten bread with crme fraiche and baby capers.

Both were delicious, especially the bruschetta - a nice variation on the traditional tomato option.

We were very glad we'd left enough room to properly enjoy our main courses... I opted for the seabass with bacon mash, pesto and balsamic, while the others went for the roast chicken, and the Fermanagh sirloin with peppercorn sauce.

We waited a little while for our main courses but when they arrived I could see why. All were cooked to perfection and beautifully presented, the seabass garnished with a full vine of grilled tomatoes which was a really nice touch.

We had just about enough room left to share some desserts, and opted for a delicious sticky toffee pudding, and the apple pie with homemade ice cream.

The staff were super, very attentive, but not at all intrusive and their regular attention to detail like topping up our drinks regularly and refilling the water jug meant we wanted for nothing all evening.

"Enter as a Customer, Leave as a Friend!" is the adopted slogan of the Customs House Inn and it certainly seems that the staff work hard to endorse this motto.

I asked the restaurant manager in passing about the rooms - and he insisted on showing us one of the luxury Laura Ashley suites - beautifully furnished accommodation with views over Lough McNean.

A very good marketing ploy... . after seeing this room an overnight stay will most definitely be on the menu for us next time.

WHAT WE ORDERED: Bruschetta, red onion marmalade, mozzarella, chorizo: pounds 5.00 Organic smoked salmon, wheaten bread, crme fraiche & baby capers: pounds 6.00Supreme of chicken: pounds 12.00Roast seabass, bacon mash, pesto, balsamic: pounds 14.00Fermanagh sirloin, chunky chips, peppercorn sauce: pounds 16.00Sticky toffee pudding: pounds 4.00Apple pie & homemade ice cream: pounds 4.00 Paulita sauvignon blanc: pounds 3.70 Pinot Grigio Garganego: pounds 3.70 Diet coke: pounds 1.70 Total: pounds 70.10
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Feb 18, 2012
Words:593
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