Restaurant Profile Summer 2017: The Boathouse, Bangor
Ken Sharp, owner of The Boathouse in Bangor, talks to Emma Deighan
Owner Ken Sharp, Head Chef Tim Brunton and Manager Jonathan Quinn
WHEN DID YOUR RESTAURANT OPEN?
November 2016, in its current guise.
TELL US ABOUT THE SPACE YOU HAVE
A beautiful old stone watch house, a former harbour masters’ office, over two floors with a small outside courtyard, catering for 30 covers on the ground floor.
WHAT FEEL ARE YOU AIMING FOR?
A professional yet friendly atmosphere; a place not just for serving a meal but to entertain guests with a culinary experience.
WHAT’S ON YOUR MENU AND WHAT IS THE INSPIRATION BEHIND IT?
Local produce, as fresh as possible, with a large degree of culinary expertise and flair behind it; all served with passion and a few added extras.
DOES YOUR MENU CHANGE OFTEN?
Our full menu changes seasonally but one or two dishes will change every week.
WHAT ELSE DO YOU DO TO IMPROVE AND DRIVE YOUR MENU?
We add elements of theatre at the table and encourage service skills from our waiting staff. We also work hard at the wine list and wine pairings, limiting the mark up on our top-end wines to £15. This limit encourages the amazing flavour matches that can come with these finer wines. Our wine pairings can cater for a full menu and we also offer taster-sized servings for specific courses for those not wanting to drink too much.
WHAT IS YOUR FOOD SOURCING POLICY?
Local wherever possible and, if not from Northern Ireland, then from the Republic of Ireland. We rarely go beyond, unless it’s for specific spices and flavour elements we just can’t get elsewhere.
WHO ARE YOUR CUSTOMERS?
People who really enjoy food and wine, and who enjoy learning more about the food and wine they are experiencing. They’re people who may like to play with their food, and who truly appreciate the flair that we bring to our service.
HAVE YOU FACED ANY CHALLENGES TO DATE?
It seemed to be the worst kept secret in Bangor that we were taking over The Boat House… yet the best kept secret that we opened! Having said that, it has worked for us. It takes a certain type of person to appreciate what we’re doing and our best sales people are satisfied guests going out and talking about us. As a result, we have built organically, with guests who appreciate the way we go about things.
HOW DO YOU MAKE YOUR RESTAURANT STAND OUT FROM COMPETITORS?
Our concentration on our customer database allows us to recommend new and interesting things to repeat customers, based on previous choices. It also allows us to ensure they don’t get the same elements of theatre on every visit.
HOW DO YOU SEE YOUR RESTAURANT DEVELOPING THIS YEAR?
Continuing to improve and push the boundaries, in both service and style in Northern Ireland.
Address: 1a Seacliff Road
Tel: 028 9146 9253
Wed-Fri: 12:30–3pm, 5:30–9:30pm
Sat: 12:30–2:30pm, 5:30–9:30pm
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