Last week, I wrote about how Tall Ships fever had taken over Northern Ireland. Game of Thrones fever has been thriving in Northern Ireland since the HBO series premiered in 2011. For those who are not aware, a lot of the series is filmed in NI, with locations such as the north coast and Castle Ward as well as Titanic Studios. Over the past few years, tour companies have begun hosting excursions around filming locations and it’s even possible to complete some Game of Thrones archery in full costume. When I noticed a Game of Thrones banquet advertised, I had to go. I asked my friend Bex, from Faeriwood and she agreed without hesitating.
It was hosted at The Cuan Inn in Strangford, Co. Down. This hotel and restaurant is a family run business close to many film locations, such as Winterfell and Robb Stark’s camp. Actors such as Sean Bean (Ned Stark) and Mark Addy (Robert Baratheon) have stayed here during filming.
There was a choice of dates for the banquet between June and August, but as we are massive Game of Thrones fan geeks, we had to go to the first one available on June 27.
We got to Strangford early to walk around the village, which is within a special area of conservation. There is a ferry linking the village with another, Portaferry, located at the other side of Strangford Lough. This saves over one hour and 45 miles of driving. The village has beautiful buildings and it is a perfect place to sit and watch the world go by.
The view of Portaferry village and the ferry that takes you there
We arrived at The Cuan, which was busy and filled with people of all ages. We introduced ourselves and were informed that the event began at 19.30 instead of 20.00, the time I was told on the telephone. At this point we were one course behind everyone else, but we were told this would not be a problem.
We were brought into a closed off section of the main restaurant area, which had a backdrop of Robb Stark’s camp. The lighting was low, there were many props around and most importantly, there were capes we could wear. We were told stories about filming and how the local area has played a large role in it. It was fantastic to hear people talk passionately about this. The group sat at the same table and we all interacted well with each other, bonding over our Game of Thrones obsession.
The menu is derived directly from the George R. R. Martin books and on paper looks like a hefty five courses, but served as three.
Crusty Fresh-Baked Bread with Medieval Pease Porridge
Cod Cakes on a bed of Buttery Winter Squash
There was direwolf butter for your wheaten bread
Looking at the menu, I did not think I would enjoy either of these dishes. I was happy to be proved wrong. I loved the cod cake, most likely because it didn’t taste too ‘fishy’ and the pease porridge went down beautifully with the wheaten bread provided. Like Bex, I thought the winter squash stole the show. I would have happily eaten a full bowl of it.
Honeyed Roasted Chicken with Roasted Onions in Gravy
One of my favourite dishes in the world is chicken with honey and this did not disappoint. I prefer to have a lot of sauce with meat, however this wasn’t required with all the wonderful honey. I enjoyed the Venison Pie, however I took a long time to finish it as it was rather dry (I suspect this was because we were still behind schedule and it was cooking longer than necessary).
Iced Blueberries in Sweet Cream with Sweet Biscuits
The sweet biscuits translated into oaty goodness here. This dish was very sweet, which was fantastic and I would have loved more. There was only a sprinkling of custard on the top, which to a custard hater (I know, I’m sorry) was a delight.
After the dishes had been cleared up and everyone else retreated to the bar area, Bex and I stayed behind to play with capes. A great way to end the evening I think.
I read reviews of The Cuan beforehand and had high expectations of their food, and was not disappointed. I would have preferred a higher level of organisation. I rang The Cuan to confirm and pay for the reservation I made online and they could find no record of it. I asked to confirm the time of the event, and was told incorrectly, which meant we did not get to make the most of the banquet. I do hope communication of the event improves as it otherwise is a wonderful experience. There’s also the option of having a private banquet for groups of twenty and over.
**Bex was the photographer for the evening and all photos belong to her. Her superb piece on the evening can be found here**
The Cuan Licensed Guest Inn, Strangford Village, Co. Down, BT30 7ND Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Price: £25 for banquet only, £62.50 for banquet and bed and breakfast pps
Dates: 25th July, 29th August. Private bookings for groups 20+
Have you ever attended a dining event for a television show or film? Does this type of event interest you?