LIM­ER­ICK SLIGO

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - SEVEN DAYS | GOING OUT - AMcE Bridge Street Sligo sweet­beat.ie ¤ AMcE AoifeMcEl­wain AMcE

As you walk into the front door, di­rectly ahead is a small dry-goods pantry, where the team at The Tide Full Inn – run by Mar­i­anne Krause and Joseph Hay­den – sell a well- cho­sen se­lec­tion of good­ies. There is DeCecco pasta, Or­tiz an­chovies and Periquin smoked pa­prika among the ex­tra vir­gin olive oils and Mo­dena bal­samic vine­gars.

The wine list is short and pre­dom­i­nantly Ital­ian, though a few French, Span­ish and New Zealand bot­tles get a look-in. There is also a house white and a house red on tap, at ¤6 for a quar­ter litre. Ir­ish craft beer is rep­re­sented by bot­tles of Stonewell Cider (¤5.20), and the full 8 De­grees Brew­ing range (¤4.90 per bot­tle). Non-drinkers are well looked af­ter thanks to the Lus­combe range of lemon­ades, made in Devon, Eng­land.

There is good-qual­ity bread and olives to start (¤3.50), and the piz­zas are daz­zlingly enor­mous. The La Mamma pizza (¤12) on the Pizza Bianco (a pizza with a moz­zarella base in­stead of tomato sauce) calls out to me. I’m re­warded with a mon­ster per­sonal pizza topped with melted gor­gonzola, dot­ted with chunks of Ital­ian sausage and slices of mush­room. The Dolomiti (¤13.50) fea­tures a tomato sauce with moz­zarella, porcini mush­rooms, and speck, topped with large hand­fuls of crispy rocket. Also on the menu are crowd-pleas­ing pasta dishes such as lasagna (¤9) and the lo­ca­vore-friendly lin­guine with Clar­in­bridge clams (¤12). The lo­cals who rec­om­mended The Tide Full Inn were right; this pizza is re­ally good. They’re open ev­ery day, ex­cept Tues­days, from noon to 10pm. Keep them in mind for your next ad­ven­ture out West.

Dela

51 Lower Do­minick St, Gal­way 091-449252 dela.ieg Wife and hus­band Mar­garet and Joe Bo­han opened Dela in 2013, in the space that used to house JP McMa­hon’s Cava restau­rant. The menu of­fers com­fort food clas­sics such as steamed Kil­lary mus­sels with chorizo, fen­nel and white wine (¤6.50 starter) and the dela sweet potato tagine Hot Pot (¤14.50).

I’m cu­ri­ous about the Mid­dle and Far East­ern in­flu­ences that

Laine,MyLove

38Tal­botStreet Dublin1 laine­mylove.com FergBrown,founderof­cof­fee shopan­droast­erRoast­edBrown, isa per­son­de­vot­edto his craft. That­maysound­likeanempty cliché, but inthis­case, it’strue. I don’tknowFergvery­well,but ev­ery­timeI­hearhim­s­peakor read­word­she’s writ­ten­about the Ir­ish­cof­feescene, Iget­the­sense thathe­hasa con­sci­en­tious ap­proach­to­his work,with ex­act­ing­stan­dard­san­dadrive to al­ways­do­bet­ter.

Acou­ple ofyearsago, Roasted Brown­hada­cof­feestal­latthe Elec­tricPic­nic witha great van­tage­point ofthe­fes­ti­val crowd.Ferg and­his­barista col­leagueswere sur­vey­ingthe stan­dard­fes­ti­valsce­neof Pen­ney’swelliesand­con­trived fes­ti­val­bo­hochicwhen­they spot­teda­wom­an­i­na­long, gold­en­dress walkinga­long the green­mead­owofthe­fes­ti­val run through the veg­e­tar­ian op­tions in the brunch and din­ner menus. The ap­pear­ance of a falafel and hum­mus on a Scandi-in­spired Ir­ish restau­rant, among the free-range mus­tard chicken and seared steak sand­wiches, feels a lit­tle off mes­sage. But it all tastes great. The veg­gie break­fast (¤8.50) comes with crispy falafel and a lightly bat­tered cau­li­flower pakora. Paired with fried pota­toes, mush­rooms, eggs and fried to­ma­toes, it’s a big plate of food and a wel­come han­gover buster. My but­ter­milk pan­cakes (¤8.50) are made in the Amer­i­can style, stacked tall on the plate, driz­zled with maple syrup and served with good-qual­ity ba­con.

The break­fast bur­rito is not a break­fast op­tion I’m a fan of – too messy, too big, too Guy Fieri – but Dela does an el­e­gant job of it. The brunch bur­rito (¤7.50) is wrapped in a toasty tor­tilla that doesn’t go soggy half­way through. The flavours of the scram­bled eggs, the rel­ish and the co­rian­der and lime salsa are bal­anced well. Dela is open for brunch and din­ner only.

The Cur­ragower Pub

Clancy’s Strand, Lim­er­ick 061-321788 cur­ragower.com ¤ Lookingou­ton­totheRiver Shannon,across­the­wa­ter fromKingJohn’sCas­tle,is­the Cur­ragow­erBarandRes­tau­rant. Along­with­his busi­ness­part­ner Bri­anMur­phy, CianBourke in­herit­edthe­barin2008.

Un­dertheir watch, the Cur­ragow­er­has­be­come renowned­forits­food­of­fer­ing, get­tingn­ods fromMcKen­nas’ Guides,Ge­orginaCamp­bell and theIr­ish Res­tau­ran­tAwards, amon­gothers.Cur­ragow­erchef Bar­ryHayeshasa se­lec­tionof gourmet­sand­wiches,sal­ads, soup­sand­spe­cial­son of­fer­for grounds,andthey wer­e­struc­kby how­muchshestooda­part­from the­crowd. Ferg buil­tachar­ac­ter base­donthis ideao­fafreespirit march­ing­tothe­beat ofherown dru­mand­chris­tened­herLaine.

In­mid-May,Roast­edBrown openedtheir sec­ond­cof­feeshop in­Dubli­nand­called­itLaine, My Love, asalit­tle-sis­ter­café totheir shopinFilm­base,Tem­ple Bar, andtheir mi­cro-roast­eryin Del­gany,Co Wick­low.

Laine,MyLovesit­sun­derthe rail­way­brid­geonTal­botSt,a stone’sthrowfromCon­nolly Sta­tion.When­they started re­design­ingth­es­paceto makeit fit­fortheir pur­pose, they­pulled up­the­old­floor­board­sand dis­cov­eredan orig­i­nal gold-specked­ce­ment­floor,a co­in­ci­dencethatharked­backto that­girlinthe­gold­dres­satthe Elec­tricPic­nic.

The­caféisanL-shapedspace, an­oth­erun­in­ten­tion­al­tribute to the­café’smuse.Apart­fro­mafew shin­ingstars suchasViceCof­fee In­con Mid­dleAbbeySt,Kim­chiat TheHopHouse­and147De­lion Par­nel­lSt,theareaaround Tal­botStreetis­cu­ri­ous­ly­lack­ing in­pos­i­tivelunch­ex­pe­ri­ences.

“We’veal­ready­been­hav­ing con­ver­sa­tion­swith­our­cus­tom- lunchtime,while anex­tended menuisof­fered at­din­ner­time that­in­cludes­dishes­suchas­the Cur­ragow­erFall­sBurgerand Din­gleBayCrabClaws.

Alo­cal tellsmethatthe seafood­chow­der(¤7.50)isa must, an­dit livesup­tothe­hype. Pink­piece­sof­salmon,plump mus­sels­from Dooli­nand­chunks of­spud­sliewithin the­ex­cel­lent creamysoup­base.

It’sagen­er­ous por­tion, served­withtwo slice­sof­good home­made­brown­bread.Abowl of­fat,gold­enchips(¤3.50) make agreat­tool for­chow­der dip­ping. The­club­salad(¤11.90) im­presses,too. This­large­pla­teof crunchysal­adleavesistopped with­strips of­salty­ba­co­nand toast­ed­crou­tons.

Shred­ded­chunksof­moist chick­en­soaku­pasmoked toma­to­dress­ing,while a hard-boiledeg­gmakesthis a sal­a­dy­ourGran­ny­wouldbe proud­toserve.

Can­teen

30 Mal­low St, Lim­er­ick weare­can­teen.com ¤ I’m sit­ting at a counter in a small café, just off Lim­er­ick City’s main thor­ough­fare. The sun streams in, shin­ing a spot­light on a wooden tray in front of me hold­ing a plump, moist blue­berry muf­fin (¤3.50), freshly baked in-house, and a pe­tite flat white (¤2.80), made with Badger and Dodo cof­fee and served in a small 7oz cup, just as I like it.

Opened three years ago by Paul Williams, the mis­sion of Can­teen is to serve hon­est fast food. For lunch, there are wraps, sal­ads and hearty meals such as the Amaz­ing Or­ganic Meat­balls (¤9) lunch box. I choose a lunch box of a Per­sian Stew (¤8.50), a light veg­e­tar­ian stew served with cous­cous. I’m glad I’ve or­dered the ex­cel­lent house-made dukkah (50c) as a top­ping, as it gives the stew a wel­come per­son­al­ity boost. The staff er­saroundthe­sizes andthe tem­per­a­ture­ofthe­cof­feewe’re serv­ing,”Roast­edBrown team mem­berRobLewis­saysovera ju­gof­fil­teredsweet, syrupy Bu­run­di­an­mu­ru­ta­cof­fee.

“WhatI’ve al­waysliked­about Roast­edBrown isthatthey care about­the­cof­feethey’re­serv­ing you,but the­yare­al­so­care­ful to sharetheiren­thu­si­asm inan re­ally make my visit. Barista Dal­ton knows ev­ery­thing about the menu and his cof­fee is flaw­less.

Wait­ress Tiffany de­liv­ers at­ten­tive ser­vice. I’m im­pressed at how well they com­mu­ni­cate the ethos of Can­teen. A great spot for cof­fee and a per­fect blue­berry muf­fin, or some­thing more sub­stan­tial.

Sweet Beat Café

Opend­byraw-food­chef Carolan­neRusheinApriloflast year,Sweet­BeatCaféis­plant­based,asop­posed­tove­gan.“We be­lievethatthetermplant-based is­more­ac­ces­si­ble. Some­times peo­ple­fearthe­word­ve­g­anand areafraid to try­itout­be­causeof cer­tain­neg­a­tive­con­no­ta­tions at­tached­toit. But­plant-based al­sore­flectswhatwedo.The­fact thatweuse­honeyin some­o­four bakingan­drecipes­mean­sweare no­tac­tu­al­lyve­gan. Our­menuis 90per centve­gan.” For­lunch, I choosetheSweet­Beat3in1 (¤10.95).It’s aplate oftheir daily sal­adan­dacupoftheirdai­lysoup -to­day’sis­bul­gar­wheatwith but­ter­beansand­but­ter­nut squash, al­sothekey in­gre­di­entin the­soup.

Thereisa dol­lopofchilliand co­rian­der­hum­mus,andafew slice­soflight­lyp­ick­led­cu­cum­ber­son­top. The­breadis­toasted and­topped with­av­o­cado.In­stead of­cof­fee, Iopt­fora gin­gerke­fir (¤3.50)which­hasadel­i­cate­fizz and­just­therigh­ta­mountof­spicy gin­ger­ness.

Miso Sligo

Calry Court Stephen’s St, Sligo face­book.com/mis­osligo ¤¤ Head Chef and owner Nae ac­ces­si­ble­way.They don’tmake youfeel­bad ify­oudon’tknow your­nat­u­ral­lypro­cessed sin­gle-orig­inBrazil­ian­beans fromy­ourViet­name­ser­o­busta, but­they’ll­helpy­oufig­ure­out why the­formeris­a­bet­ter­bet for cof­feeap­pre­ci­a­tion.

The­m­an­ager­atLaine,My LoveisTimeaDeme­terova,who isal­soRoast­edBrown’shead Young Jung brings out our Kim­chi Jeon ( ¤7.50), a large savoury pan­cake, pan-fried and draw­ing on the flavours of kim­chi, the spicy fer­mented cab­bage that ac­com­pa­nies most Korean meals. It’s sticky and spicy in all the right spots. I’m be­yond pleased when my Bibim­bap (¤13.50 with an egg) ar­rives with my very own squeezy bot­tle of spicy sauce, laced with gochu­jang. The suc­cess of a bibam­bap – a bowl of rice and freshly shred­ded veg­eta­bles that can come with beef or tofu – re­lies on a large dose of the spicy sauce so be gen­er­ous.

The op­tional egg on top ar­rives cooked with a soft yolk, in­stead of a raw egg that gets cooked by the siz­zling hot stone bowl in my favoured in­car­na­tion of this dish. I miss the sticky crispi­ness that this serv­ing tech­nique brings to a bibam­bap, but it’s a grat­i­fy­ing din­ner nonethe­less.

The Ja­panese in­flu­ence on the menu is largely des­ig­nated to the sushi sec­tion, while the larger meals in­clude Korean favourites such as beef bul­gogi (¤17.50) galbi jeongsik (¤19.50), and my afore­men­tioned bibam­bap.

The menu seems pretty set but they keep things in­ter­est­ing by chang­ing their roll of the day ev­ery day. They source their fish lo­cally from Killy­begs and the silky fish in the Tuna Roll (¤10.50) is a tes­ta­ment to fresh­ness.

Knox

32 O’Con­nell St, Sligo 071-9141575 knoxs­ligo.ie/ ¤¤ 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 baris­ta­trainer, soshe’s usedto guid­ing­peo­plethroughtheir bur­geon­ing­cof­feeaware­ness.

Food-wise,cake­sare cur­rently­sup­plied­byLove Supre­meinS­toney­bat­terandthe bread­is­fromthep­raise­wor­thy Dublin­bak­ery LeLe­vain­which al­so­sup­pli­es­theFum­bal­lyCafé amon­gothers.Every­thin­gelse is madein-house, with­chefJill Hardingatthe­helm. My sand­wichis­the­honeyand­clove baked­ham(¤6),aLeLe­vain­bun stuffed­with­gent­ly­melt­ed­brie an­datangyyetswee­t­red­pep­per rel­ish.

Otherop­tion­sin­cludea veg­e­tar­i­ansand­wich­with beet­root,car­rot and­hum­mus, dai­lysal­ad­sanda dai­lysoup. Thereisa short­break­fast­menu, andthep­ancetta, poached­bear and­brie serve­d­ina briochebun (¤6.50) sound­s­like just­thet­icket foran­early morn­ing­pick-me-up on­the­way­towork.

Roast­edBrown’slit­tle­sister will­bea boon­forn­ear­by­of­fice work­er­sand­com­muterspass­ing byon their­wayfrom­thetrainto theird­esks.Thecharmingim­age ofa lonein­di­vid­u­ali­nagolden dress­might­providey­ouwith somein­spi­ra­tion, too. 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 bistrostyle 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 made up of a meat patty made for Knox by Sheerin’s Butch­ers in Bal­ly­moate.

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 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 . . .

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