REVIEW: Eight South

It's surprising how much of an appetite can be worked up while walking along the beach, at least that's how I feel. So, by the time we arrived in Carryduff on the way in from Newcastle I was ravenous and could wait no longer. As we came in from the Ballynahinch Road there bedecked in beautiful red begonias was Eight South. It was like an oasis on the roadside, so we pulled over and went in.

Eight South is a great setting, recently refurbished and extended, the main bar is a modern sophisticated gastropub. It also has a basement bar complete with pool tables and wall to wall TVs for the sports fan. Finished off with a private function suite complete with its own food prep area and bar. We opted for the restaurant and were lead to our seat by the warm and friendly host.

The restaurant is large and spacious with plenty of tables but also plenty of room. The staff at Eight South were wonderful; attentive and courteous as well as professional. The kitchens at Eight South turn out great traditional food with the best of locally grown produce. We ordered our drinks and studied the menu.

For starters, Miriam had a chicken liver pate with brioche toast served with tomato and chilli jam, but I had to have the Seafood Chowder. The chowder was everything I wanted; salty, creamy with the fresh taste of ozone-sea breeze. The helpings of succulent salmon and cod were generously bathed in the creamy broth and only pierced with the sweetness of the prawns. It seemed as though I was still walking along the beach at Newcastle, the freshness of this starter was invigorating and the perfect start to the evening. Miriam thoroughly enjoyed the chicken pate. Again, the fatty liver musk blended with subtle spicing was well balanced with sticky sweet and hot jam. The summer salad that accompanied it was again more than enough.

I continued the seafood theme with fish and chips. Fresh beer battered haddock with hand cut chips, garden peas and a tartare sauce. Everything you can imagine in perfect fish and chips and more.

Lightly battered haddock, which for me is the better choice for battered fish, so light it dissolved on the palate leaving the meaty sweet haddock which gave in to the slightest pressure. For long enough I ignored the chips and sides as I was engrossed in the fish, lovely, even now writing this I can still taste it. The chips where just as good, crunchy and fluffy, the perfect chip? Maybe.

Miriam had sizzling beef in a peppered sauce with chips. So dark and rich with hot pepper corns and again, the perfect chip absorbed the peppery sauce creating a hearty, moreish dish that ate wonderfully well.

One thing I have to say here is that Eight South provide us with great service, great food in a great setting and the portions were equally great.

The generosity of Eight South is amazing, especially in the cost-conscious business age. I noticed that the staff and especially the owner, Trevor, were talking to the visitors and calling them by name. This place was full of regulars and Trevor and the staff moved through the restaurant naturally interacting with folk, it was like being part of something familiar. And that's what it was about Eight South, it was elegantly homely. The modern fresh atmosphere and decor did not distract the staff from what was important, the visitor. Miriam and I felt so welcomed and made so at home it was impossible to have a bad evening here.

We will be back. Even though it was a chance encounter on the way back from Newcastle, it has now become a destination priority for us. I cannot recommend Eight South enough. If it's a relax night out with great food in a wonderful setting, then head to Eight South.

Paul McMath

Eight South can be found on the Ballynahinch Rd,
Carryduff. It opens at 10:30 everyday and closes at 22:00 Sunday-Wednesday, and 23:00 Thursday-Saturday. Find them on Facebook - @EightSouth.

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