Newry.ie
The Catering team at the Graduate Restaurant. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie
The Catering team at the Graduate Restaurant. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie

 With January over and with all plans for my diet in the hazy past for yet another 12 months, it was the perfect time for a visit to the Graduate Restaurant at Newry Catering College for one of their gourmet nights.

It's where one of the students is appointed as Head Chef and has the unenviable task of organising everything including a menu and staff on the night.

Guinea Fowl Wontons. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie
Guinea Fowl Wontons. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie

Tuesday night's 'short straw' fell to student Ryan Finnegan from Dundrum and what a job he did.

Coats taken, we were shown to our table and soon in the hands of our attentive waitress Charlotte. Nothing was missed in making us feel like honoured guests, with every need met before we even thought of asking.

First up on the menu was Guinea Fowl Wontons, a first for us and a great way to start.

Beetroot Mousse, Pickled Beetroot, Whipped Goats Cheese. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie
Beetroot Mousse, Pickled Beetroot, Whipped Goats Cheese. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie

For next course I picked the Beetroot Mousse, Pickled Beetroot with Whipped Goats Cheese, The beautifully presented starter had an exhilirating contrast of flavours from the sweet beetroot to the tangy Goats Cheese.

Next up was an exceptional Spiced Sweet Potato, Chilli and Coconut Soup served in a beautiful cup along with Cheese and onion bread. The soup and the bread were incredible. I tried to prolong the course but it was gone all too soon.

Spiced Sweet Potato, Chilli and Coconut Soup with Cheese and Onion Bread. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie
Spiced Sweet Potato, Chilli and Coconut Soup with Cheese and Onion Bread. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie

For Main Course I went for Pan Seared Duck Breast, Mango Puree Dried Cherry and Port Jus which was served with mash potato and assorted vegetables. Absolutely beautifully presented and flavours to take your last breath with.

Of course only the desert was compulsory I would have been really good but the Chocolate and Raspberry Mousse Pot was incredible with lashings of raspberry coulis to help the textured mousse go down.

Pan Seared Duck Breast, Mango Puree, Dried Cherry and Port Jus. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie
Pan Seared Duck Breast, Mango Puree, Dried Cherry and Port Jus. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie

Next was a cup of tea with Pina Colada Macaroons, the most incredible tiny flavoursome delights.

Of course to finish off it would be wrong not to have a Creme De Menthe ... and so it was.

Chocolate and Raspberry Mousse Pot. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie
Chocolate and Raspberry Mousse Pot. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie

Total cost for us for the menu was £18 each with a few quid extra for refreshments.

It was uplifting to be waited on 'hand and foot' at a time when we have been disappointed with the poor level of service in many of Newry's restaurants. It really is what makes a good meal into a really memorable meal.

Pina Colada Macaroons. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie
Pina Colada Macaroons. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie

The Graduate Restaurant at the SRC host meals on Tuesday nights throughout the month. There are still spaces available for 12 and 26 February and you can book or enquire about other dates at 028 3025 9713

Creme De Menthe.
Creme De Menthe.

Thanks to Ryan and Charlotte and the whole team at the Graduate for a wonderful culinary delight.

The Menu on the night. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie
The Menu on the night. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie
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