CLARE DONEGAL DUBLIN
warm banana flatbread with a creamy lime zest filling (¤4.50) and the Breakfast Moglai – a crispy doughbread stuffed with bacon, egg, cheese and coriander (¤6.50). For lunch, go for the Manoushi, a Lebanese flat bread filled meat and cheese (¤8.90) or for a salad of pearl couscous with capers, cucumber, pomegranate and parsley (¤7). The sweet treats are plentiful; we’ll be back for their courgette cake (¤4.25) and their rosewater and pistachio meringue (¤4.50).
Nighttime sees the Kitchen taking over, and the Middle Eastern influence is strong in this menu too. It’s casual – the menu isn’t divided into starters or mains and sharing is encouraged. There are plenty of smaller dishes at around ¤8, such as Moroccan spiced beef patties (¤8), and bulgar wheat and chickpea falafel (¤8.50).
There are more baked goods from Lebanon, this time in the form of Sfeehas, delicious mini pies that are also stuffed with meat (¤8). They’re served at Orso with a crispy kale and a creamy dip. The menu holds a couple of largers plates for the heftier appetite, including a slow cooked lamb tagine (¤18.50) or a seasonal game pie with their own Orso spiced potatoes (¤17). There’s a small but well-selected choice of craft beer and cocktails, and service is fast and friendly. They also host regular barista classes, led by their “professional coffee master” Yuliyan. The next classes are on May 10th and May 25th, and they’re open to people who want to upscale their hospitality skills or just those who really loves coffee and wants to find out more about brewing.
THE LONG DOCK
The Long Dock is a gem at the heart of Loop Head and the perfect stopping-off point en route to climb the lighthouse over Clare’s spectacular cliffs. As you’d hope in this part of the world (but not always find), the seafood selection is spectacular.
One a recent visit we got stuck into a massive bowl of mussels in a delicious wine and garlic sauce (¤9.95); great, meaty crab claws (¤13.95); a surf and turf that delivered loads of flavour and great value at ¤19.95; and a rich, creamy seafood pie hiding beneath a pillowy mash top (¤14.95).
The daily specials are much more adventurous than we were on this visit. The cosy bar setting and roaring fire was the perfect antidote to one of those early summer days that delivered all four seasons in one. This is one worth making a lengthy detour for.
Bridgend, Inishowen, Co Donegal, 074-9368544, bit.ly/HarrysBarFacebook ¤¤ Have you ever heard of the kind of restaurant that sits on a less than idyllic spot, perhaps next to a petrol station, but that foodies fawn over? Have you ever heard of the kind of restaurant that sits off the beaten track, perhaps next to a petrol station, that has food enthusiasts clambering into their cars to get to?
Harry’s is that kind of place. A totally unassuming location gives away to a passionate crowd of food lovers, whose main aim is to shout from the top of Malin Head about how great Inishowen produce is, as well as celebrating other great Irish producers. You can follow proprietor Donal (Harry’s son) on Twitter (@HarrysDonal) and if you ask, he’ll tell you about their walled garden a few minutes from the restaurant where they grow much of the produce for their kitchen. Check them out for lunch, early birds and evening meals. It’s a big place, with a large dining room with a good view of the kitchen pass, and an old-school family pub next door.
Sunday lunch is hard to beat, three courses costs ¤20.95. For that, you could find yourself enjoying a walled garden onion tart with Coolea cheese, slices of roast Donegal turkey and ham with buttery onion and sage stuffing, followed by lemon posset with rhubarb. So, if you’re hungry when you arrive in Inishowen peninsula, make sure you stop off at Harry’s to eat.
Ranelagh, Dublin 6, 01-497 9337 ¤ This little coffee spot is named for its location opposite lock number six on the Grand Canal (you know the one, it features in every “it’s sunny in Dublin, look at all the people drinking outside the Barge” photograph). It opens from 7am on weekdays for coffee and breakfast. It’s a cool little hideaway, protected from the passing traffic by a stone and wire mesh wall with some interesting wooden outdoor seating for those bright summer mornings. Breakfast offerings include porridge with stewed rhubarb ¤4.50 or bacon and eggs (¤4.50) with or without bread. Locally roasted Ariosa coffee beans keep the baristas busy with passing commuters, who can grab baked treats such as fresh pain au chocolate (¤2.50) made by Dublin’s Bakelicious bakery. At lunchtime, the Kamado lump wood charcoal barbeque roars into action out the back, with a daily meat special served with salad or in a sandwich, with a corn on the cob. You can expect chicken (¤6.25), steak (¤7), thick cuts of bacon with avocado (¤6.25) or some really good foot-long sausages from