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Welcomed with open arms on a wonderful night out; YOUR CHANCE TO BE A FOOD CRITIC - DINE FREE AT A POPULAR RESTAURANT AND TELL US THE RESULT.

SUNDAY News readers Dessie and Eleanor McKay reviewed the food on offer at the Adair Arms Hotel restaurant in Ballymena, Co Antrim.

Name and address of restaurant:

Adair Arms Hotel, 11 Ballymoney Road, Ballymena, Co Antrim.

How easy was the restaurant to find?

Very easy. The attractive building is quite imposing and can be readily seen from the Ballymoney Road.

Parking facilities:

The hotel parking was small and quite cramped. But there was adequate parking available very close to the hotel in well-lit areas.

First impression on entering the restaurant:

The restaurant was pleasantly cool when we arrived and we were greeted by a very friendly waitress. There were a number of diners in the restaurant but the overall atmosphere was more subdued than noisy - there was a buzz of quiet conversation in the background.

All the staff were dressed in clean and neat uniforms and the decor was subtle.

Dishes chosen from the menu:

Starters:

Scallops Fettucine. This dish contained a very generous portion of juicy scallops which were sauted in butter, covered in a creamy lobster sauce and served on a bed of fresh pasta. There was also a generous sprinkling of fresh Parmesan cheese - delicious.

Asparagus Parcels. Again the portion was very generous. The tender asparagus spears were cooked to perfection and served in a warm Tarragon butter sauce and served under a cloud of fluffy puff pastry.

Each starter was served with a portion of freshly baked bread which was a lovely touch.

Main courses:

Entrecote Chanterelle. The 14oz Sirloin steak was cooked exactly to our requirement and served with freshly chopped chives and sauteed mushrooms.

The dish was finished off with a red wine sauce. this sauce was not too rich which meant that the delicious flavours of the meat were allowed to come through.

Chicken Nelson. The plump, tender chicken breasts were stuffed with a mixture of fresh cream cheese and avocado. The meat was coated in crunchy breadcrumbs and smothered in a rich Tarragon and white wine cream sauce.

Desserts

We were spoilt for choice with the dessert menu. Each dish sounded delicious.

We finally settled for an old favourite, Blackforest Gateau with a fresh raspberry coulis which was delicious.

Did the food live up to expectations and why?

Each dish was beautifully presented. The description of each dish made our mouth water and we were not disappointed when it came to tasting the food.

The quantities were also more than generous and each dish was served at the correct temperature.

Was there a general dress code?

There did not seem to be a formal dress code but all the diners were casual yet dressy.

Was the staff helpful and knowledgeable about the food they were serving?

We did not have much contact with the staff.

They were efficient and attentive without becoming overbearing.

Our waitress dealt with all our requests with the minimum of fuss.

Price and value for money? Please state if the quantities were sufficient or even too much.

The meal was excellent value for money considering the quantities and the quality of the dishes served up.

Entertainment - what was available?

The entertainment was excellent. A singer and a keyboard player entertained us with excellent middle of the road music.

What would entice you to visit the restaurant again?

The delicious food.

What improvements or adjustments would you make to the menu?

None. Each dish was beautifully presented and the extensive menu catered for all tastes. Other dishes on offer included smoked chicken and avocado soup and Pork Arriabiata.

Vegetarians and fish eaters are also catered for.

Did you have any complaints? If so how were you treated by the management?

After the meal the manager asked us if everything was alright.

While we enjoyed the meal immensely, we admitted that we preferred the atmosphere in the Grill Bar.

Our comments seemed to be taken on board.

How long did you spend in the restaurant?

Two enjoyable hours.

Did you leave satisfied and why. Please give reasons.

The food was absolutely delicious but we did feel rather full when we left the restaurant. The superb entertainment also added to a great night out.

Every week we are offering a lucky Sunday News reader the chance to be a food critic for the day. Write to us naming a restaurant of your choice in your area. If your name is chosen, then we'll arrange the rest. The eaterie may be one you've visited before, or one you've always wanted to try. Please include your name, address, daytime telephone number and the name of the person you wish to go with.

TO ENTER, SEND YOUR NAME AND ADDRESS TO: Sunday News Restaurant Review, 46-56 Boucher Crescent, Belfast, BT12 6QY
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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Dessie; McKay, Eleanor
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 10, 1999
Words:787
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