A warm crackling fire and cosy atmosphere combine to make this an utterly superb Strangford meal.
In the quiet little seaside town of Strangford—just a ten-minute drive from Downpatrick—you will find The Cuan, a family-run hotel, pub, and restaurant. The Cuan, and its restaurant, has been at the heart of Strangford village since 1811.
Peter and Caroline McErlean, the current owners, took over this fine establishment in 1989, and have lovingly rebuilt it with the specific aim of preserving the historical value of The Cuan, while also modernising it to meet current-day expectations.
This place was also famously a haunt of Game of Thrones (GoT) cast members in the early seasons. You’ll be sure to see plenty of Thrones-related décor in The Cuan!
Sitting as close to the warm crackling fire as we could without singeing our hair, we looked at the menu with great anticipation. We had heard a lot about this place from the locals, but we remained wary. You can never give yourself entirely over to what the locals say because there’s usually a bit of bias there!
We ordered the Finnebrogue Artisan wagyu-burger and the classic chicken kiev. Both dishes came with chips, and we ordered a boat of pepper sauce to go with them. Much has been said about the fantastic Finnebrogue produce, and, honestly—it’s well deserved. The burger was cooked to perfection, with heavenly melted cheese and iceberg lettuce draped on top. I would go as far as to say that it’s one of the most delicious burgers I’ve ever eaten.
The chicken kiev was mouth-wateringly delicious too, with crispiness to the breadcrumbs and the soft succulent chicken breast beneath. The only complaint we had with this dish was it wasn’t quite garlicky enough; a little more garlic butter would stop it tasting dry towards the middle. The range of veg it came with was fantastic, but we couldn’t finish it all.
The chips had a great outer crunch to them and a pillowy soft centre, something that is difficult to get right. But The Cuan seems to have mastered this trick—we genuinely could’ve ordered another portion of them each, but we didn’t want to be greedy! The pepper sauce went well with them.
We arrived at 6:30 pm on a Saturday and were surprised it wasn’t overly busy. The ambience was charming and made for an even more enjoyable meal. This is probably due to Strangford’s small size, so if you like a superb Strangford meal with a relaxed atmosphere, we can’t recommend The Cuan enough!
For dessert, we both ordered The Cuan’s famous butterscotch nut sundae. It was an excellent end to an already great meal. The butterscotch sauce was spread liberally and paired brilliantly with the ice cream and toasted flaked almonds. It was gone in no time.
Overall, the dinner at The Cuan’s restaurant was a superb Strangford meal that we can’t praise highly enough. We implore you to check it out for yourselves to get an understanding of what we mean.
When we first sat down to look at the mains, we inquired if The Cuan had a cocktail menu, but were informed that they, unfortunately, do not. This wasn’t a big problem though, they had a great selection of beers and their pour of Guinness is one of the best in County Down.
We started with Guinness, and after the meal we moved into the Cuan’s pub and had vodka and cokes and a couple of pints of their Hodoor beer — a Game-of-Thrones-inspired beer you can only get at The Cuan!
I found it a little sweet for my taste, but it was something I’m glad I tried. They sell boxes of Hodoor beers in the pub, making an excellent gift for that GoT fan in your life.
The service was fast and efficient while not seeming rushed. The staff were on hand to recommend what was good and there were no long waiting periods between our orders and receiving our meals.
After the meal, co-owner Peter McErlean walked around the tables and took a moment to talk to the customers. He offered to bring us a bowl of crisps for our table, but we just had our dinner and were at bursting point. We were touched by his kindness, regardless.
The upbeat attitude of our servers has influenced us to go back.
Our bill for two main courses and desserts came to just under £50, which we felt was very reasonable, considering the quality of the food.
If you haven’t guessed already, we’ve made plans to go back! So be sure to check out The Cuan and its restaurant in Strangford whenever you’re passing through.
Address: The Square, Strangford, Downpatrick BT30 7ND