Knox

32 O’Con­nell St, Sligo 071-9141575 knoxs­ligo.ie/ ¤¤

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - SEVEN DAYS | EATING OUT -

I head to Knox for break­fast, en­joy­ing the re­claimed wood and over-sized light bulb aes­thetic of its fit­tings. I soon see that Knox is not just a pretty face, but that there is real sub­stance in their of­fer­ing. Be­fore I even get fed I’m charmed by the cheery waiter, who holds his own while singing along to tunes from Fu­ture Is­lands and London Gram­mar play­ing on the café’s stereo.

Pa­trick Sweeney and David Dunne opened Knox in May 2015, af­ter leav­ing their ca­reers in bank­ing to fol­low their dream of open­ing a food busi­ness. Their ef­forts haven’t gone un­no­ticed, and they won Best Café in Sligo in the Con­naught round of the Ir­ish Res­tau­rant Awards ear­lier this year.

The kitchen team is led by Shane Mee­han and Kai Puls, and their cakes and muffins are baked by Stacy McGowan. Knox St was what O’Con­nell St was known pre-1920, and the orig­i­nal street sign hangs on the wall of the café, a present from a cus­tomer who un­earthed it for Sweeney and Dunne.

The duo launched a bistro-style evening menu in Oc­to­ber 2015 but have since redi­rected their night­time of­fer­ing in the di­rec­tion of tapas, which feels more in keep­ing with the in­for­mal style of the busi­ness. Served from 6pm to 10pm, Thurs­day through Satur­day, the menu is eco­nom­i­cally priced and in­cludes tapas stal­warts such as char­cu­terie boards (¤12) along­side in­ven­tive spe­cials such as plates of scal­lops with crispy chicken skin and bites of ham hock ter­rine.

For break­fast, I go for a pot of crunchy house gra­nola (¤4.50). It’s gen­er­ous in size and the pro­por­tion of gra­nola to yo­gurt and fruit is well judged. It’s an ex­am­ple of the sub­stance be­hind pleas­ant pre­sen­ta­tion at Knox. I also in­dulge in the heartier op­tion of the Sligo Break­fast Bap (¤7), which is madeup of a meat patty made for Knox by Sheerin’s Butch­ers in Bal­ly­moate. Also be­tween the bap are slices of Sheerin’s ba­con, which are of am­ple thick­ness and abun­dant flavour.

I felt the cof­fee could be im­proved. Though it’s made with Grumpy Mule beans, a UK-based roast­ery of good re­pute, I won­der if a roaster closer to home, such as Badger & Dodo in Cork or Dublin’s 3FE, would fit in more with Knox’s food of­fer­ing, but this may be my per­sonal cof­fee pa­tri­o­tism kick­ing in.

Over­all, I ad­mire what Sweeney and Dunne have done. They’ve taken their ex­pe­ri­ences as cus­tomers and ap­plied it to their own space, by sourc­ing good pro­duce and bring­ing in culi­nary tal­ent such as McGowan, whose muffins are worth writ­ing home about. Keep Knox in mind for your next Sligo-based break­fast, lunch or dinner.

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