Bushmills Banquet Menu - a mouth watering tribute to Slow Food Causeway

Dec 09, 2021

Let's do this!

Designing the menu for a Bushmills Banquet is both a crucial component and a highlight of the planning process. Gary Stewart from Tartine at Distillers Arms and Stella Bolton from The French Rooms look to their friends in the business to join them in this incredible opportunity.  So many ideas, inspired by our great local producers, many of which are members of Taste Causeway and now part of the newly launched Slow Food Causeway movement. Collaborating with inspirational guest chefs such as Rob Curley from the Slemish Market Supper Club, Trudy and Sean Brolly from Ocho Tapas Bistro and Jacqui & Jonny Warke from Warkes deli Portstewart allows for the incorporation of a wide range of skills, experience and culinary passions, which makes this event memorable.


The Warm Welcome

On arrival, guests were offered a selection of local drinks. The hot mulled whiskey from Old Bushmills 'took the edge off after the cool night breeze of the iconic location at The Giants Causeway visitor centre took hold. Since its inception, the Old Bushmills Distillery has supported local events such as the Bushmills Banquet and  Dine Around Bushmills and demonstrates its commitment to the development and promotion of Bushmills and further afield. 

Lacada Brewery served their West Bay ale with Glens of Antrim crisps, and James and Martha from Giants Basalt Rock Gin wowed diners with their soon to be launched gin and infusion combinations served with Trougtons tonic from Armagh.

The incredibly talented Eimear Hughes performed several mesmerising numbers to transport guests into the space's ambience. Eimear is a critically acclaimed performer with a wide range and versatile repertoire. Enjoy Eimears performances by subscribing to her YouTube channel.


Finally, we offered non-drinkers the award-winning Apple presse from Bushmills online farm shop Dundarave Estate. Their sister Estate Cherryvalley produces this Great Taste Awards winner from freshly picked apples. Have you pre-ordered Giants Basalt Rock Gin yet? Their online store is ready for orders now!


Heavenly Bites

Warkes Deli Portstewart served showstopping canapes, which featured Corndale Farm, NorthCoast Smokehouse, Distillers Pickle Sauce and Young Buck cheese. Beautifully presented, bite-size and moreish, guests devoured the canapes. Jacqui and Johnny showcased the style of their outside catering offering using a range of products from their deli in Portstewart. They also brought some Taste Causeway hamper boxes, which are available to order online directly on the  Warkes deli Facebook page.


 The Menu


The grazing platter by the French Rooms was a stunning smorgasbord featuring delicious produce from Tom & Ollie with their award-winning hummus and antipasti. Vance organics handpicked a selection of fresh organic vegetables for the rustic crudities to complement the dips and tasters.  Glenballyeamon deviled eggs with a trio of stuffings, including Rathlin Islander kelp pesto &  Corndale chorizo

The platter also included North Coast Smokehouse salmon pate, a French Rooms firm favourite featured on their Seafood platter. Corndale nduja is slightly cooled with the addition of cream cheese which retains the heat but gives it a creamier spread. Nduja is a soft Italian style spreadable salami. It's spicy and peppery but has a smokey sweetness.  

A grazing platter would not be complete without a selection of cheeses, and The French Rooms did not disappoint with Kearney Blue, a delicious Northern Irish blue cheese which is hand made and multi-award-winning inspired by the landscape of Co. Down. Cooleeney from Cooleeney Farm in Co. Tipperary produces this creamy, buttery cheese with discernable white mushroom notes to rival French camembert.

Finally, they served Boile goats cheese pearls from Fermanagh rolled in Mussenden sea salt infused with Za'atar spices.  Distillers pickle sauce and Maegden pears were the perfect sweet accompaniment. Distillers pickle sauce is one of two sauces created by Gary Stewart of Tartine at The Distillers Arms, which won Gold at the recent Blas an h'Eireann awards. Maegden pickLed pears, in its cute jar, gave us a flavour of what we can expect when launching their new deli shop in Bushmills in 2022. The Cheese selection was served with local forest honey from the Broighter Gold Pop-Up Christmas Farm Shop, which is open right up to Christmas. For opening hours, refer to Facebook - Christmas Shop at Broighter Gold.


Freshly baked focaccia from The Dough House Ballymoney was served with a selection of infusions from Broighter Gold, and Ballyrashane unsalted butter sprinkled with Mussendun lavender sea salt. With a selection of the freshest micro herbs, the Greenhouse brothers garnished many of the dishes throughout the evening, including their delicious Red Amaranth and garlic chive. They also created stunning fresh cut bouquets for our tables, worth checking out their Christmas floral range on their website, The Greenhouse Brothers. Finally, no table would be complete without seasoning from North Coast Smokehouse sea salt & smoked black pepper. 

For reservations at The French Rooms, you can book online now.

Raise a glass!

While grazing begins, guests relax to a choice of Nyala Sauvignon blanc or Titanic Cabernet Sauvignon whilst enjoying four tasting plates. Both are South African wines from the Western Cape. Titanic Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 shows an abundance of red fruit flavours on the nose and blackberries and subtle oak flavours. The expectation on the nose is backed up on the palate with soft, luscious tannins and delicate fruit flavours. Titanic wines Ltd also manages bespoke events and can be contacted via Contact Us (titanicwines.net).

The Main event

Taster plates are served at a slow, steady pace starting with Tartine at The Distillers Arms. 

They kicked off with their award-winning Seafood chowder and Guinness wheaten bread, which won the Ulster Seafood Chowder Championship multiple times and competed in Kinsale at the All-Ireland Seafood Chowder Championships.

Gary has demonstrated his award-winning recipe at The Balmoral show and other cooking demonstrations around the country, amongst other dishes from his repertoire. His chowder is a show stopper during Bushmills's annual Salmon and Whiskey festival.  Gary also offered vegan chowder at the Bushmills Banquet as an alternative which went down equally well.

Tartine at Distillers Arms second taster plate featured veal from Broughgammon Farm located between Bushmills and Ballycastle. A family-run farm, artisan farm shop and cosy cafe. A Slow Food winner, Broughgammon was the obvious choice for Gary's main course taster dish. Rose veal is deliciously tender and is an impressively sustainable cut that is somewhat misunderstood. To learn more about the health benefits and ethical arguments supporting this forward-thinking farming check out Broughgammon Farm shop.

Gary slow-cooked and pressed the veal and served it with a delicious venison bonbon, full of flavour and served with seasonal vegetables and an aromatic jus. Distillers sauce range is stocked in the best deli's, butchers and farm shops around the province. To purchase Gary's award-winning sauces directly or reserve a table at Tartine at Distillers Arms, click on this link.

From the Slemish Market Supper Club Chef Rob Curley, ably abetted by Chef Gary Godfrey were at the helm of the next two taster dishes.

Chef Rob Curley did not disappoint. Rob and his team have gained a reputation for their pop-up dining experience, bringing Rob's fine dining expertise to intimate venues across the province. Rob is a champion of locally sourced produce whilst being the master of invention and innovation, transforming the best of NI ingredients into plates that will 'wow'.

His banquet taster plates did not disappoint. He started with his Oyster and Stout Paella, Ireland's entry, World Paella Competition 2021, Valencia Spain)
Burnt onion & Guinness paella, crispy oat oyster, pickled Rathlin Island sea lettuce.

Rob hit the shores hours before serving, handpicked seaweed to garnish his dish, & recorded his foraging efforts. 


Next up - The Causeway Stack

Seaweed potato fadge, with dulse black pudding, brambly apple & Bushmills whiskey ketchup and egg yolk jam. The presentation of Rob's next taster was a talking point amongst diners. Check out Rob's website for upcoming events and bespoke bookings - Slemish Market Supper Club.

Sweetness & light

A tasty, tangy dessert with an exclusive new local product from Tartine at The Distillers Arms.

Trudy and Sean Brolly of Ocho Tapas Bistro could have easily created any of the Bushmills Banquet courses with their experience in outside catering and award-winning Spanish influenced tapas championing local producers. One of the original driving forces behind the Taste Causeway movement they joined forces with the other Banquet Chefs, helping out in every course.  Their sublime lemon tart with its mouth-watering pastry topped with fresh and light tangy filling served with Black butter creme fraiche and the soon to be launched Distillers Raspberry and Apple dessert sauce by Gary Stewart from Tartine at Distillers Arms is still talked about.


Sean and Trudy are operating from a stunning venue in Portstewart with breathtaking sea views, in their current location, upstairs at The York Portstewart. Ocho Tapas offers an incredible menu of authentic Spanish tapas using the very best of local produce alongside specialities from Southern Spain. An evening at Ocho Tapas is an experience like no other and can be reserved via their online reservations - book now.




This year, the Causeway Coffee Company served 'Grainne',  a Gold winner at Blas an H'Eireann.  Graham Watts describes this coffee as follows 'This dark and rich single-origin coffee comes from a small farm in the Narino region of South-West Colombia. It has rich chocolate and caramel tastes with a hint of cooked blackcurrant as it cools.' Causeway Coffee Company has settled into its new home in Coleraine town centre as part of the Stone Row Artisans, a collective hub of talented local artists and artisans from the Causeway Coast and across Northern Ireland. You can also order coffee online at the Causeway Coffee Company

 A very special toast

A Bushmills Banquet would not be complete without a farewell toast from Colum Egan. Master Distillers of Old Bushmills Distillery. Colum brings the efforts of the entire evening together. He tells us of his love ad passion for the area, its landscape, food and people and his commitment to sustainability as he toasts to friendships over an exceptional whiskey from The Causeway Collection.


The Causeway Collection is an elusive new collection of limited edition rare cask-finished Irish single malts from the world's oldest licensed whiskey distillery. 

Causeway Collection Video - Click Here to hear the talented Stephen James Smith, an Irish Poet and gifted writer who brings together the connection - 'the place make the people, the people make traditions'. This moving piece brings the energy and passion of this extraordinary place, proudly home to Bushmills whiskey. Click here to purchase - WHERE TO BUY


'The Causeway Collection celebrates these extremely rare and unique cask finishes. These special cask-finished whiskeys really are our greatest treasures – and we can't wait to share them with the world'.


The finale

The 'night cap', 'swing of the gate', 'one for the road' whatever you say when you simply don't want the night to end was covered by invitation from the historic Causeway Hotel to end the evening in one of the many cosy corners with a Bushmills Coffee!

The Causeway Hotel have music on weekend evenings, superb winter break deals and a delicious new menu. Check out their website for more info -  The Causeway Hotel.

 Future events will be announced soon. Subscribers will be the first to know, so don't miss out. To purchase local produce head to a local market (Naturally North Coast & Glens) or browse the range delicious range of products that are now available online at Artisan market online.