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Preference Brasserie, Portstewart, Co. Derry.


81 The Promenade Portstewart, Co. Derry. BT55 7AF

+44 (0)28 7083 3959

Price: € 0-60 (for two with wine)

Hours: Tuesday - Saturday 6 - 9.30pm, closed Sunday and Monday.


Preference Brassiere is in Portstewart, one of Northern Ireland’s busiest coastal destination towns. This small seaside resort is busy all year round and attracts visitors from across Northern Ireland as well as the Republic. Into this, Neil and Louise Gibson took the plunge in 2008 – a brave time to open a restaurant anywhere on this island – and realised their dream with this contemporary restaurant.

Preference Brassiere is at the town end of the promenade, occupying a corner position which makes for a lovely bright room the modern and tasteful black and white interior is set off by the constantly changing art exhibition – mostly local artists and all for sale – and fresh flowers. Louise runs front of house with the eye only a careful owner brings.

Neil runs the kitchen and his emphasis is on good ingredients to create dishes that are imaginative and original. Summer starters include a choice of homemade soups, homemade seafood tortellini, a spiced Wicklow breast of pigeon or thinly sliced Carpaccio of beef with dressed rocket and parmesan shavings. Most are priced around the £7 mark, and you will also get to taste their range of home made breads.

The main courses continue to be a step above the ordinary, for example the chicken if local organic from Fermanagh, served with wild forest mushroom tagliatelle and seasonal salad, none of your supreme of chicken here then. You can also enjoy sea bass with celeriac & vanilla mousseline, roast baby beets and buerre noisette, the beef is medallion of local beef, with caramelised onion and cashel blue cheese. Irish Hake is roasted with a smoked salmon and leek fondue and mustard seed and capers, while the Silver Hill duck is served pink with lentils, a piece of pork belly with prune and Armagnac jus.

It is fairly obvious something interesting and a little bit special is happening here. Preference is one of the new wave of restaurants that are a testament to the passion and creativity of the people who run them and want to create a new style of food that aims above the mark, offering firm favourites with interesting ingredients and coming up with food that is more than the sum of it’s parts.

Preference Brasserie is a great addition to Portstewart, and the Northern Ireland restaurant scene in general. Well worth a trip.
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