Restaurant Profile December 2017: Little Big Fish, Donaghadee
Owner Ruth Kimbley and general manager Jonathan Cobain talk to Alyson Magee
WHEN DID LITTLE BIG FISH OPEN?
RUTH: We’ve been open for almost two months. My background is in marketing, communications and quite recently within the food industry so I’ve been lucky to become well acquainted with great chefs and restaurant managers including the now Little Big Fish Head Chef Andy Archer and our General Manager Jonathan Cobain.
TELL US ABOUT THE SPACE YOU HAVE
JONATHAN: It’s set for 60. However, it can be extended to six per booth and the back can be turned into a larger area, to about 80-85 seats.
RUTH: There are about 12 seats in the lounge area around the open fire. Our customers really enjoy relaxing here with a nice glass of wine or cocktail, some tapas and taking in a beautiful sea view.
WHAT FEEL ARE YOU AIMING FOR?
RUTH: I’m aiming for a rustic, comfortable home-from-home feel; somewhere people are happy to stroll into after a walk by the sea and sit by the fire with a glass of wine and tapas or come in for a full meal. I feel that an open fire, a sea view, combined with good food and excellent customer service, makes a pretty satisfying dining experience.
WHAT’S ON YOUR MENU?
RUTH: Fresh local seafood. We do cater for everyone though. There are some vegetarian options, and there will always be a meat option whether it’s chicken, roast beef or ribeye, and this Christmas, beautiful Wicklow venison. We’ve had a menu running from September, but Head Chef Andy Archer has crafted a new menu for the winter/festive season. People don’t really associate seafood with winter warmer food, but our winter menu includes dishes such as pancetta wrapped monk loin, sea trout and crab crushed potatoes and a sensational seafood chowder including hake, violet potatoes, mussel and dulce and Champagne bubbles. It’s seafood worth celebrating!
JONATHAN: We seem to have created some Little Big Fish signature dishes that people keep coming back for such as our chilli and chorizo crab claws. We like to keep our cocktails quite classic; we’ve created a rum concoction called ‘Shipwrecked’ that seems to be a customer favourite.
DOES YOUR MENU CHANGE?
RUTH: Generally, it will change with the seasons. It’s important that the fish is fresh off the boats so basically whatever the boats bring in, we’ll serve.
WHAT IS YOUR FOOD SOURCING POLICY?
RUTH: Provenance is a priority for us. Our main supplier, who is obviously our seafood supplier, is Still Waters, which gets all their fish from local harbours including Portavogie, Kilkeel and Greencastle. They’re based in the fishing village of Portavogie, 14 miles from the restaurant, and have a great relationship with the local skippers and trawler men so we get the freshest of seafood.
JONATHAN: We have a pretty compact list of suppliers and it’s important they’re local. Head Chef Andy uses Carnbrooke for our meats, Arnott’s for fruit and vegetables, Erganagh dairy, Young Buck blue cheese, Sperrin mountain cheese, Broighter Gold rapeseed oil and Clandeboye yoghurt to name a few.
WHO ARE YOUR CUSTOMERS?
RUTH: For a long time, our customers were local, and we’ve been seeing a lot of familiar faces week after week. Customers have been coming from further afield though through word of mouth. A lot of our marketing at the moment is done online and it’s working well for us. We’re very interactive with our online followers and our following has been growing rapidly across facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
HOW DO YOU SEE THE RESTAURANT DEVELOPING?
RUTH: Our passion is fresh, local seafood prepared and served with excellence. As long as we keep delivering that, we’re happy everything else will eventually come together.
27 The Parade, Donaghadee
Tel: 028 9122 5375
Facebook: @LittleBigFishCo Twitter: @littlebigfishco Instagram: @littlebigfishco
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