I say Bangor, but more correctly the Cairn Bay Lodge guesthouse is slightly on round the coast in picturesque Ballyholme. I don't know about fellow Bangor West dwellers, but I often forget there's a beautiful stretch of water with rows of colourful Victorian houses and a beach walk way, just a short drive away on the other side of town.
Recently I've been slowly drip fed these gorgeous photos of kitsch interiors, smashing sea views and the odd picture of a plate of mouth-watering grub, on my Facebook timeline. The account behind these tempting photos was Cairn Bay Lodge, a guesthouse overlooking Ballyholme strand. So Michael and I decided it was time to make a trip over town and visit The Starfish Cafe ourselves!
Parking is free and plentiful on the road outside the Lodge, and the cafe spreads through two rooms, with plenty of seating. We visited at 11am-ish and it was busy, but we had a choice of seats.
The interiors were what tickled my fancy initially to prompt the visit. Absolutely splendid interior design, with taxidermy, fairy lights, prints by my very own logo designer Handdrawn Creative Neal McCullough and retro pieces which give the whole lodge a vintage feel without being tacky or gaudy in the slightest. It's kitsch done the North Down way.
The menu all looks delicious, with lots of seafood and high quality produce sourced locally. I went for French toast with mascarpone, crispy bacon and maple syrup. Michael just wanted some icecream, as he had had breakfast at home. This wasn't on the menu, but they kindly gave him a big bowl of vanilla icecream and only charged me £1. We also had coffee and fresh orange juice. The food was excellent. I was really impressed. If you are local and want a really good quality breakfast, or to impress a visiting guest, The Starfish Cafe at Cairn Bay Lodge is the hidden gem of a eaterie you're after.
For our four items I think we paid around £11.50 that's a little more than breakfast elsewhere, but the produce is very high quality. Next time I visit, probably this week coming, I want to try one of the crab dishes.
I had told the owners on their Facebook that we would be calling so we had a brief chat after eating. They are a lovely couple, who's names I didn't remember, I'm sorry! But I can imagine staying at the Lodge would be just as plesant as eating there.