CARRIAGES Bistro gave diners a taste of the 1980s when it dished up a special celebration to mark 25 years in business.
The award-winning Larne restaurant marked the landmark anniversary on Thursday 18 October by laying on a menu with mouth-watering prices from 1987.
Owner Ignatius McAlonan took inspiration from the year he first opened the doors to create a hugely-popular and iconic dining institution in the town.
Carriages famously started as a pizzeria and to this day customers continue to come back for a delicious slice of the famous Italian dish.
Explaining the restaurant’s recipe for success and how it has managed to flourish in the notoriously difficult industry, Ignatious simply said: “Our food is always A1 and the pizzas are just top of the range. Nobody can compete with them. We’re the biggest seller of pizzas in Larne and they’re just beautiful.”
As Carriages began to grow it quickly expanded its menu to include traditional Irish cuisine and now serves freshly cooked steaks, cured gammon and king ribs.
The train-themed restaurant comes complete with original train seats and windows.
It also has railway carriage booths and a function room.
The walls are adorned with train-themed posters and art.
The family-run, fully-licensed restaurant uses locally-sourced food and grow its own salads in the Bistro Garden.
As a true recognition of the high quality of Carriages’ food, it received the prestigious Taste Of Ulster award in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011.
Its top chefs were also honoured to be invited to give a demonstration at the Balmoral Show at the Kings Hall in Belfast in 2010.
The team of chefs cure all their own bacon on the premises, age their own steaks and make their own corn beef and sausages.
Some of the staff have been working in Carriages for as long as 18 years, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere.
Also with four self-catering apartments, visitors can spend the night.
But what are the culinary delights, all at very reasonable prices, that you can savour when you make a stop at Carriages?
Well for starters you can begin with classic garlic bread, stuffed mushrooms or Alan’s Prawn Cocktail.
Seafood lovers can enjoy a local delicacy by opting for the Baked Millbay Oysters Parmigiano.
Burgers are always a favourite and the Hawaiian and Chicken varieties never disappoint.
On to the mains and it is heaven for those who like to feast on red meat.
The classic roast of Ulster beef sits alongside delicious sirloin and fillet steaks which are grilled to taste and accompanied with French fried onions and saute mushrooms.
Co Antrim turkey and ham is always gobbled up but it’s hard not to opt for a mixed grill, chicken maryland or gorgeous gammon.
The mains are served with local seasonal veg, creamed, boiled and roast potatoes and hand-cut chips.
Anyone looking to reelin a fish dish will be more than satisfied with the sensational salmon tagliatelle with creamy white wine sauce or the fish and chips.
The fillet of fish comes in an appetizing beer batter or breadcrumbs.
It’s a taste of Italy with spaghetti bolognese and not to be missed are the chicken and bacon pasta and lasagne.
But it’s the pizzas that gave Carriages is rich reputation for fantastic food and there’s a range of toppings to suit all tastes.
Margherita, Roman and Funghi get the ball rolling to lead on to more the adventurous Jimbo (tomato, mozzarella, spicy sausage, bacon and bbq sauce), Four Seasons (tomato, mozzarella, ham, mushroom, olives and anchovies) and Carriages Gourmet Don (tomato, mozzarella, ham, salami, mushroom, onion, garlic pepperoni, peppers and olives).
Pizzas come in 9” and 12” sizes. But if you fancy a treat at home a take-away service is also available.
Young diners are also well catered for with scampi and chips, burger and chips, and chicken nuggets and chips among other dishes.
Finish off your meal with one of the divine desserts or famous coffees and you’ll be wishing to attend the party when Carriages celebrates another 25 years of fine dining.
Carriages Bistro, 105 Main Street, Larne, BT40 1HJ, Co. Antrim
Opening hours: 5pm till 11.00pm
Tel: 028 2827 5132