After our trek up to Scrabo Tower, my two girls and I had built up a hefty appetite. As we were in Newtownards I decided to take them to Hickorys Smokehouse and Grill.
We arrived around mid day and we very impressed with the welcome we received and with the general ‘feel’ and look of the place.
On chatting to the manager (who hails from Turkey and has made NI his home), he was telling me that the restaurant has been Hickory’s since 2014. It was previously Italian restaurants by the name of Zio then Carlitos. Hickory’s is undergoing a bit of a face lift and I thought the place looked really authentic!!
I really loved the colour scheme and the pictures especially ones explaining the BBQ terms etc.
The brand new menu was launched a couple of weeks ago and has really been popular with the customers and staff as well.
There is also a kids menu and on Sundays kids eat for free!! The main restaurant (used for smaller groups and has live music at the weekend) holds about 90 settings with an additional 60 on the first floor (used for bigger parties) and up to 60 in the Basement (which can be hired out for private functions and has a DJ booth). There is also a covered/heated beer garden/smoking area at the rear.
My girls went for sausage (2), chips and beans and freshly made chicken goujons (4) chips and beans. The chips were skinny fries (with skin on) and were crispy!! The girls finished them off in a jiffy whilst I had my starter of smoked garlic prawn gambas. This dish had plenty of succulent prawns in a lovely smokey, tomato sauce with a hint of garlic,served with side salad and garlic bread.
The girls still had room for strawberry and vanilla sundaes whilst I had my full rack of ribs with half a chicken. Mine cam out on a tray accompanied by some slaw, two meaty onion rings, salad and a token piece of garlic bread. In all honesty it was a meat feast!!
The sundaes were delicious and filling according to my girls!!! Now onto my tray… presentation was first class, no airs and graces, good food and plenty of it did all the talking. Taste wise the ribs (all 10 I counted) were loaded with succulent, soft, melt in your mouth/fall apart slow cooked, finest fresh Northern Irish pork! There was plenty of BBQ sauce on board (I asked for more as I like my BBQ sauce). The fresh NI chicken was moist all the way through, full of flavour and exceptional. The slaw was creamy and crunchy but portion could have been bigger, the two onion rings were wonderful-plenty on onion in a light batter. The salad was kind of ‘lost’ and really not needed and garlic bread again was nice but didn’t belong. If the dish was served with corn bread and pickles and slaw that would have been perfection.
The verdict……definitely one of the best Smokehouse/ slow cooked BBQ restaurants I’ve been to-One to definitely pay a visit to.
There are various special offers on like Steak night Tuesday, Rib Wednesday and T bone Thursday. The basement can be hired out for private functions as well. The staff are very helpful, knowledgeable and friendly and this is a super, family friendly, no nonsense eatery.