Review: Linen Hill Kitchen & Deli

... aka The Purple Carrot Place!

It's always a bonus when you pick a random day to visit The Outlet at Banbridge and it turns out to be a 'dry' one. With only one specific item on our shopping list today we timed our visit to perfection to coincide with calling into the Linen Hill Kitchen & Deli for Sunday Lunch.

Even though it was a sunny Autumnal day, the outlet can be a bit of a wind tunnel so it was very welcoming when we stepped in through the door of the Deli to not only feel the warmth inside but also the warmth of the welcome we received from our host Paul, who made sure that all our needs were attended to throughout our visit.
Once settled, the drinks order was taken followed by a full explanation of what was on offer. A varied and imaginative menu with something to suit all palettes with extra choices displayed on a Daily Special's Board.

While browsing the menu, a waitress delivered a plate of food to the table beside me, which I was immediately drawn to. I didn't know what it was – but whatever it was – I wanted it! Main Course Sorted!

Seafood chowder was recommended for starters (£6.50) and my dining companion opted for the Nachos (£5.50). The chowder was AMAZING! Comforting, creamy, crammed with fish and just the right ratio of potatoes and veg. Even though it was listed as a starter, the 3 portions of lightly toasted, warm, soft house bread made it quite a substantial first course – which in hindsight (after still feeling full going to bed) a lighter option might've been better.

The nachos were exactly as nachos should be. Heaped high with gooey melted cheddar, jalapenos, guacamole, salsa & sour cream. Another very filling first dish which on our next visit will most def be a 'shared one'.

The suggestion of a slight break by Paul before serving our main course sounded like a great idea. Time to take a breather, catch up on chit chat and take in our surroundings.

With floor to ceiling windows, the space inside the Deli is bright and open but with certain areas boxed off for those looking for a bit more privacy. Outdoor seating is also available for those warmer days.

On further perusal of the menu I was particularly heartened to see that this establishment also offers excellent choices for both vegetarian and Gluten Free diners. Somewhere new for my recently diagnosed coeliac friend to try out.

Break over… for the Main Event. What did my impulse choice of 'eating with my eyes' lead me to? It turned out to be of the 'Daily Specials' from the blackboard described as Porchetta Loin of Pork (£12.50).

It came served on a bed of buttery mash, herby roasties, a selection of seasonal veg and a cute little jug full of dark, rich gravy. Very pleasing to the eye indeed. The Porchetta (which I have to admit I 'googled' discretely under the table to see what part of the pig it came from) was delicious.

A mouthwatering thickly cut slab of pork loin, succulent, not too fatty and full of flavour. Glad I had followed my instinct – but wait… Oh no… There was something on my plate that looked aesthetically displeasing, out of place, ugly! What was it? I didn't know so I politely removed it and placed it on a side plate away from my otherwise 'perfectly presented' Sunday roast.

Halfway through munching, Paul returned to the table to check everything was ok and observantly noticed what I had removed from my plate. Talk about 'feeling wick' when he went on to explain that they were actually Purple Carrots! They really did look 'weird'!

A bit of them were orange and normal looking with the other bit looked dark in colour and "rotten". Again, curiosity got the better of me and Google came to the rescue once again. It turns out purple carrots have superfood health benefits including improved memory, enhanced vision, protection against heart attacks, act as anti inflammatories and even help control weight. Who knew?! Until today I had never seen, sampled or even heard of a purple carrot before. I did eventually pluck up the courage to put one in my mouth and eat it and it was actually really nice!

Anyhow, after pinching a couple of the most tastiest triple cooked chips that I have honestly ever had from my companion's plate and a slither of her very generous portion of sirloin steak from her 'Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich', £13.50, (which she raved about the whole way home btw!), it was time for another breather.

Desserts were discussed and decided, NO – TOO FULL! Paul suggested bringing us out a little trio to share (£6.00). Ok, arms twisted, GAME ON again.

The 3 little beauties came out as what only I could describe as 'Seduction on a Slate'. A traditional Armagh Bramley Apple Cinnamon Crumble, a light, refreshing, fruity trifle served in tiny little clip top kilner jars along with a suitably matched dainty portion of moist sticky toffee pudding.

All 'tarted up' with an array of honeycomb pieces, raspberries/strawberries, flaked almonds, mini meringue and coulis. For those of you looking a challenge there is also a 5 item Dessert Sharing Slate (£10). Good Luck with that!

The Linen Hill prides itself in sourcing their produce from the best local suppliers from all over the Province and boldly list them on the front of the menu.

Check out their Facebook page – @LinenHill – for up and coming events in November and December as well as deals for cinema goers, curry & beer buffs and special kids' deals.

The Linen Hill will always be fondly known to me as 'the Purple Carrot Place' and I would have no hesitation in making the 70 odd mile round trip back just to have another bowl of that chowder and delicious bread.

By Gillian Cahoon

The Linen Hill Kitchen & Deli can be found at The Outlet, Bridgewater Park, Banbridge. Opening hours, menu's and special offers can be found at

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