Restaurant Profile November 2016: 4Vicars, Armagh
Gareth Reid, chef and founder of 4Vicars, Armagh talks to HRNI
Gareth Reid, chef and founder of 4Vicars, Armagh
WHEN DID YOUR RESTAURANT OPEN?
May 2014. As it was my first restaurant, I wanted to be close to where I grew up – we were banking on the support of family and friends as our initial client base.
TELL US ABOUT THE SPACE YOU HAVE
It is a converted Georgian terraced house built in the 1700s with three separate dining rooms. The largest seats 18, the second seats 10 and is popular with groups who take the whole room and enjoy having that dinner party feeling. The third room, the sunroom, is our most popular at lunch. It offers excellent views across Armagh in a bright and airy conservatory. This is where the coffee machine and till are housed so it also offers a good buzz of activity during service.
WHAT FEEL ARE YOU AIMING FOR?
We aim to serve really good, interesting food, with friendly but professional front-of-house staff in a relaxed environment. We want people to feel at home whilst enjoying a high quality restaurant dining experience.
WHAT’S ON YOUR MENU AND WHAT IS THE INSPIRATION BEHIND IT?
Our lunch menu is a selection of dishes offered in smaller and larger sizes. We like this format as it allows diners to simply pop in for a quick bowl of our delicious soup and then back to work, or to enjoy a leisurely three-course lunch with a couple of glasses of wine. We cater for all.
Dinner is a choice of four starters, four main courses and four desserts. The menu is evenly balanced between fish and seafood, meat and poultry. We also serve some lovely Irish
cheeses. Sunday lunch is a set price menu of two or three courses with three choices for each course; it’s terrific value.
DOES YOUR MENU CHANGE OFTEN?
All our menus change weekly. There are, however, certain dishes which appear more regularly.
WHAT IS YOUR FOOD SOURCING POLICY?
I buy all of our fish and seafood from Hans Cousins locally, working with what is landed at Kilkeel during the week. Our salad and much of our vegetables are delivered by a lovely lady from a few miles away. We use rapeseed oils from Harnett Oils, Waringstown, vinegars from Burren Balsamics, and beef from Ballymoran Meats Armagh. For cheeses and other essentials we use La Rousse foods. We try to be as local as possible, but not just for the sake of it. ‘Local’ is a bit of a buzz word at the moment, but we will use the best ingredients – it just so happens they are on our doorstep.
I’m part of the Food Heartland’s Hospitality Forum in Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon which is working with local producers to help make the area a ‘foodie’ destination.
WHO ARE YOUR CUSTOMERS?
We have built up a lovely, loyal client base of regular customers, mostly by word of mouth. They come from all walks of life, but I think they enjoy what we do at 4Vicars and we’re very happy to have our regulars.
HAVE YOU FACED ANY PARTICULAR CHALLENGES TO DATE?
Trying to find high quality front of house and kitchen staff is a major issue. I also think that my generation of 30-somethings are really short on food knowledge and appreciation. We used to have a lot of customers who only wanted to eat chicken goujons, burgers and other highly processed foods. As we didn’t serve any of these we could end up losing whole tables due to a few fussy eaters.
4 Vicars Hill, Armagh
Tel: 028 3752 7772
Email: [email protected]
Fri-Sat dinner: 6-8.30pm
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