breaking news

November 30th, 2017 | by LCN Editor
Venue Spotlight
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Celebrating two years in business in October this year, Chapter V in Moy represents the realisation of executive chef Conor McCabrey’s burning ambition to create a quality restaurant experience that was all of his own making…

The clue is in the name at Chapter V, a popular upmarket restaurant in the village of Moy that’s owned by Annaghmore couple, Conor and Ellen McCabrey.

Chapter V is the fifth restaurant at which Conor (46) has taken the creative lead. Many readers will be most familiar with him because of his days at Clenaghans, near Moira, where he spent 18 years, but Conor’s career has seen him don his whites in some of the country’s most successful kitchens, including the four-star Pomme d’Or hotel in Jersey and the Norbreck Castle hotel and spa in Blackpool.

His earliest days in the trade were spent at the former Grange in Waringstown, where he first began working in 1997. Conor, who comes originally from Lurgan, was there for the next three years and he remembers it as a venue that was perfect for a fledgling chef:

“People still talk about the Grange locally and it was a great place to work,” he says. “Everybody who was anybody in the mid-90s went to eat there and it had a great following.”

He arrived at Chapter V in October 2015 after building up a considerable following at Clenaghan’s. The move itself signalled a watershed moment for Conor, as he recently told LCN:

“Working at Clenaghan’s meant I was driving 50 miles to get to work and eventually, I just thought right, it’s time to do something for myself,” he recalled.

The building at Killyman in Moy, which is more than 300-years-old, overlooks the village square and the remains of Roxburgh Castle. It’s always been a hospitality venue of one sort or another but had lain vacant for around nine years before Conor and Ellen took it on. They invested significantly in renovating and refurbishing the fabric of the building, redecorating and installing a new kitchen:

“It took us six months to get it the way that we wanted it and it was all the harder because I was still working at Clenaghan’s at the time, but family helped us out a lot,” says Conor.

Conor McCabrey

He and Ellen – who looks after front-of-house at Chapter V – have created a wonderful venue at the Moy where Conor’s innovative take on fresh, contemporary cuisine sits elegantly alongside a comfortable and informal ambience.

“What I really wanted to do was create a fine-dining restaurant, but one that was known for its great atmosphere and pleasant, airy surroundings,” explained Conor. “This really is less formal dining, it’s not stuffy at all here and we offer an excellent grill menu.”

Chapter V is a 78-seater restaurant and on a busy night, Conor and Ellen will have as many as 120 diners. Joining Conor in the kitchen are chefs Mark Hughes, who came to him from the acclaimed Moody Boar restaurant in Armagh and Judith Rowntree, who formerly worked at Derek Patterson’s Plough Inn at Hillsborough.

“Business has been excellent throughout the time that we’ve been here, well above our expectations for the place,” added Conor. “We’ve never had to advertise what we do here, the whole business has just grown through word-of-mouth, people are coming here from all over for the atmosphere and the food.”

Conor also says that he thinks the restaurant is ideally located. He sees Moy as the true heart of mid-Ulster and with five bars in the village, all within easy walking distance of Chapter V, he says customers don’t have to go any further for a great night out.

As for priorities, Conor says it’s “onwards and upwards”:

“It’s that simple. The weekends here are really taking off for us now, Saturday night is really busy and I just want to keep getting the word out there, the old head chef from Clenaghan’s is up here in Moy now and we want people to come up and enjoy what we have to offer.”

 

 

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