I’ve been eating out a lot recently…a lot a lot. I’ve been out in Clare, Dublin, Sligo, Derry and Donegal, lets see how long it takes me to give a speed review of each!
First up was a pleasant and surprising find. I happened to be in Ennistymon, Clare at about 10pm looking for something to eat. I’d resigned myself to a bag of chips when I happened on Chow – a noodle bar! Really authentic, good value late night food, Ireland could do with a lot more of these places. We enjoyed a spicy beef with garlic and udon noodles and a marinated pork with egg noodles with a shared portion of spring rolls – a fabulously satisfying, good value (under €30 with drinks) late night feast, highly recommended.
Next on the tour was a lunch date with school friends. The suggested destination was the Green Hen in Dublin. I’d been hearing great things about this French restaurant so was looking forward to sampling and it didn’t disappoint. The real high point is the value – 3 course lunch for €19. We enjoyed daube of beef, salmon and crab rolls and goat’s cheese and beetroot salad to start, a (stunning!) confit of duck and lamb burger for mains and all 3 opted for the rice pudding brulee for dessert. Not a complaint was heard and at that price it would be hard to. Lovely staff and great (busy) atmosphere.
Onwards and upwards we then headed north, stopping off for lunch in Sligo. I’ve been to Source Sligo quite a few times, including attending one of their cookery courses. I’m a fan. Lunch on this occasion was good but I wonder if the eye has been taken slightly from the ball, it wasn’t quite as sharp as on other occasions but I’ll be back again to double check 😉
Lunch was 2 chowders, delicious with a great splash of wine, which came with lovely bread and a shared flat bread with dips. The flat breads were over toasted and only the olive dip had any real excitement but the other two, hummus and pepper, were still pleasant. Washed down by coffees and a very nice chocolate and pecan brownie we headed off satisfied.
Northwards again until we reached Derry and the culinary highlight. I cannot recommend Browns enough – service, value and food were excellent, one of the better meals I’ve had in a long time. The 3 course menu was £20 but it had nothing of the cheap early bird feel about it. We started with a lovely bottle of proseco, goats cheese amuse bouche and delicious fresh breads – I was already in my element! It went from strength to strength with a delicious prawn and curried cauliflower stater, a vegetarian risotto and sticky toffee dessert. If I’m honest, I was too distracted to properly enquire about the choices of my fellow diners but all their plates were cleared and they too raved about the experience. If you ever have the opportunity to visit Browns – do it!
Last stop on the tour was Harry’s in Bridgend, Donegal and it was unfortunately disappointing. There is a strong fish representation on the locally sourced menu. I started with the scallops which were fine, if slightly on the expensive side, €10 for 3. I followed with the megrim which was very nice but lukewarm at best – a fault shared by all of the tables mains. The sides were good, particularly the cabbage and root veg but garlic potatoes – which were just potato cubes doused in garlic butter were not a hit….all in all we were disappointed, service was slow and food was not hot, but perhaps we were extra picky after the stunning meal the night before in Browns.
Right that’s it, not too long I hope and a few pointers if you find yourself in those parts of the country. I’m not eating out for months!