I’m naughty, I did not fly home for Mothers Day. However I did phone, rather flew home the following weekend. Lunch out in our home town of Portadown and Mum and James time. Coincidentally I was demonstrating at the AGA Shop Belfast that evening. The highlight of my trips home are seeing my family, lunch with Mum at The Yellow Door. A rather special Deli and Cafe to the people of my home town of Portadown run by Simon Dougan.
Photography: Geoff Telford
I’ve been visiting the Yellow Door for years, its one of those great local places that goes above what is required to serve not just good food, but GREAT food. When you walk in the number of awards Simon has won are displayed to the right of the door next to the home made pickles and marmalades.
Established in 1999, it’s part of my home community with regulars there every week for what has become an unofficial saturday breakfast and brunch club. Simon learnt his trade at a time when prawn cocktail was first in fashion for a starter or heaven forbid, egg mayonnaise, Simon was one of the first people to really put Northern Ireland on the food map. His business has expanded to outside catering.
Like any great deli and cafe, all of the bread and scones as well as patisserie are made everyday. The menu is not huge, but its great, why would you go to lengths to produce an extensive mediocre menu when a smaller one with less choice yet cooked to perfection can be offered? Simon showed me into the kitchen, hams, chickens and the likes are all cooking, I’m informed these are for the sandwiches and pies. Fresh local produce at it’s best, salad leaves even grown in Simon’s garden.
It’s food heroes all over the UK like Simon I love to talk to, I love to see their passion and charisma and how they have changed our eating habits and culture locally, even before the rise of the TV Chef. As I grab a Moyallon Sausage Sandwich on my way out to jump on the train to Belfast I say to Simon “It’s not that long ago I remember hearing the word ‘pasta’ at home followed by ‘that’s foreign muck'”. Simon smiles, shows me his range of pies, pasta and casseroles to take home. A cuisine changer with global thoughts in a small town.