Dinner & Danny Schmidt at Crusoe’s, Castlerock

I’ve just had a lovely weekend staying with my Aunt in Coleraine. I mean, it may be some time before my pickled liver recovers, but it was most definitely worth it!

I had been invited to go with my Aunt to Crusoe’s Cafe in Castlerock for dinner, with the added bonus of music in the form of Danny Schmidt.

Crusoe’s is a new place to me- but came very highly recommended. They are mainly a daytime destination, and I understand that they make the best cappucino in the world! ๐Ÿ˜€ They run special evening events from time to time, and this was one of those. They provide a gorgeous meal, wineย and music. I gather that these evenings are heavily subscribed and eagerly awaited by the population of the North West!

My first impressions of Crusoe’s were of the warmth of the staff. You almost feel like you’ve arrived at a friend’s house for dinner, they are so welcoming. We were seated at a very pleasant table in the corner and brought some wine.


The room itself has a strong nautical theme, lots of great big windows and a very high beamed ceiling. The room is, however, dominated by the kitchen, which takes up a corner of the room and looks very homely. I really like the notion of being able to watch my food being prepared, and it says a lot about the team that work there that everything seems so calm, efficient and amazingly quiet in there!

Our starter was lovely- fresh, warm bread rolls served with little pots of seafood cocktail, foie gras and a gorgeous tapenade which had both black and green olives in it, as well as sun dried tomatoes. All of this was outstanding, especially the tapenade (which, by the way is somethingย I’m quite fussy about, as it consists of all my favourite ingredients!), and I was excited to see what would come next!

I wasn’t disappointed. We were served with the most delectable venison pie, slowly braised with, I believe, chocolate and chilli in the sauce. I’d never have put chocolate in something like that, but am absolutely intrigued now because the sauce was absolutely out of this world. This was accompanied by perfectly cooked root vegetables and some tasty cauliflower cheese. It was seriously one of the nicest main courses I have had for a while, and I am, as you all know, not all that easy to please! ๐Ÿ˜€

Pudding (though I was already struggling!!) was a cup of coffee flavoured caramel topped with chocolate sauce, not overpoweringly sweet, which was a good thing, and really delicious. It was served with homemade shortbread which I was devastated not to have enough room for! I should have asked for a doggie bag!

Just when we thought we’d burst, they then brought out a cheese board! They source their cheeses from the Fivemiletown Creamery and they were perfect, but I couldn’t possibly have finished! The cheese was served with delicious home made pickle.

I have to say it was one of the most yummy and satisfying meals I have had in a long time, plus mind blowingly good value for money. If you picked this place up and set it down in Belfast, the queues would be out the door and down the street. If you’re in the region, it’s most definitely worth a visit!

One of the things, however, that really made the evening, was the quality of the live acts who played. Both of them were quite a lot in evidence before they played and seemed like very cool and relaxed guys, so I was able to check if they minded me taking pictures of them for my blog. Kindly, they both agreed! I’m a terrible photographer as regular readers know, so I hope they won’t get too pissed off if they ever happen upon these! I was using Ricky’s camera and couldn’t work out the settings, so poor Al unfortunately got hit with the flash once before I managed to change the settings. Ironically, that was the only photo which really came out… ๐Ÿ™‚

First up was Al Brition, who hails from Coventry in England. He had such a sweet, melodious voice that the whole audience was captivated by the end of the first few bars. Simple, soulful music that was perfect with the relaxed atmosphere. I very much enjoyed the subtlety of his guitar playing too. Really beautiful. Inexplicably, I can find no reference to him online at all, and I wonder if I have got the spelling of his name right. If anyone out there can correct me, please do so! ๐Ÿ™‚ He is definitely someone to watch!


Danny Schmidt, hailing from Austin, Texas, was the main act, and he took everyone’s breath away. It’s not just his gorgeous voice and guitar playing, but the lyrics of the songs too. I was particularly moved by his song “This too shall pass”, which he told us was about a time a few years ago when he’d been unwell, and a friend had made him a ring with those words enscribed. From listening to the lyrics of the song, I hope I’m not inferring incorrectly that he must have been suffering from a cancer of some kind back then. Obviously, having been going through my own battle recently, this really touched me and the words will resonate with me for a while to come. Haunting. Other songs had an irreverence which I think unfortunately may have been a little over the heads of some of those present, but I really enjoyed all of it. I will definitely be going to see him again next time he’s in Northern Ireland.


All of this added up to being a really special night out. The evening was ยฃ35 per head including wine- stupendously good value. Thanks so much to my aunt for inviting me, and to both Crusoe’s and the musicians for making it a truly memorable night.


8 Responses to “Dinner & Danny Schmidt at Crusoe’s, Castlerock”

  1. 1 layla2376
    April 27, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    Sounds like a perfect night out – wine, good food and live music . You are soooo good at describing food, I am always ravenous after reading one of your reviews. I love the pic of youu & your Aunt, you have such a great smile and your Aunt is so glam !
    “This too shall pass “, what a great mantra xx

    My Aunt is indeed very glam and has been complaining bitterly about her low profile in terms of appearances on my blog! I told her, fine, if she wanted me to plaster photos of her all over the internet, then so be it! ๐Ÿ˜‰ She’ll probably email me later complaining that she didn’t get more air time!!!!!! ๐Ÿ˜€

  2. April 27, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    Maybe your aunt can start a blog and we’ll all read it and leave her many, many comments! ๐Ÿ˜‰ You both look so lovely in the photo.

    I was asking her why she didn’t start a blog as I know she has a journal. She said she would end up saying incriminating things, which she might live to regret!! ๐Ÿ˜€

  3. April 27, 2009 at 6:50 pm

    I’m so pleased you had such a great time. ๐Ÿ™‚ you deserve it.

    Thanks Corey! You’ve got mail, BTW!

  4. April 27, 2009 at 11:30 pm

    Sounds like you had a wonderful time. Isn’t it cool when you everything is perfect?

    And now I’m hungry…

  5. 6 Skry
    April 28, 2009 at 5:10 am

    Sounds like you had a great meal. Fois Gras though? I never would have thought… You certainly don’t have any vegetarian in you any more ๐Ÿ˜›

    The food sounds great. I couldn’t believe that you managed to get so many courses and then they brought out a cheese selection! Crazy. I miss good cheese too – there’s not a lot of it in NZ. I’ll live my Belfast cheese life vicariously through your blog posts with Prof P in them. They’re always great for hearing about primo food ๐Ÿ˜€

    Great that they managed to get musicians that fitted so well into the atmosphere of the restaurant. All that for only ยฃ35? Outstanding!

  6. 7 emma
    April 28, 2009 at 8:40 pm

    you’re looking lovely Suzy – glad you had a good time. x

  7. 8 Kim
    May 1, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    That meal sounds absolutely dreamy! I’ve heard of a bit of chocolate used in certain sauces – not that I’d be brave enough to try it myself, but at the hands of a professional, I’m sure it was amazing.
    I’m glad you had a great time!

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