A Moira restaurant has beaten eateries across the UK to be named overall winner in Waitrose’s Good Food Guide Local Restaurant of the Year Awards.
Wine & Brine has only been open since December, but, citing its commitment to “seasonal and local ingredients at ridiculously reasonable prices”, editors of the Waitrose guide named it not just the top choice in Northern Ireland but overall UK winner.
After sifting through 30,000 nominations, the editors announced the top dining establishments in each of 10 different UK regions.
The awards are based on public nominations, with a panel of Good Food Guide judges choosing the most outstanding as their overall winner. Wine & Brine is run by husband and wife team Chris and Davina McGowan.
During two decades away, chef Chris worked in London alongside top chefs such as Richard Corrigan and Gary Rhodes, before returning to Northern Ireland.
Waitrose Good Food Guide Editor Elizabeth Carter said: “A role-model of its kind, Chris McGowan’s relaxed restaurant has a big heart, friendly, laid-back staff and generous cooking of fresh, seasonal and local ingredients at ridiculously reasonable prices.
“A hive of endeavour, it is no wonder that Wine & Brine has a huge and very vocal fan base. “Every town should have a restaurant of this standard.”
Chris’s wife and business partner, Davina said: “To say we are delighted by this accolade is a great understatement; we are positively ecstatic to be chosen as the overall UK winner.
“We are such a young business; it makes it all the more profound for us.
“It’s a testament to all our hard work over the years ahead of setting up Wine & Brine, which we always wanted to be a place where people wanted to come to eat and enjoy spending time with friends and family.
“We are trying to make good food accessible to everyone, using local suppliers.
“We only have one draught beer, and that’s from a brewery a few miles away. Our butcher is within a five-mile radius, as are most of our suppliers.”