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The Lodge Res­tau­rant Con­nemara Na­tional Park Hos­tel - Let­ter­frack Lodge Let­ter­frack, Con­nemara Co Gal­way 095-41222 lodge.ie

Mike Laf­fey opened the Let­ter­frack Lodge as a hos­tel in 2000, which he runs with his wife Janet McDon­nell. It has since de­vel­oped into more of a self-ca­ter­ing B&B, mov­ing away from stu­dent ac­com­mo­da­tion. “We’re ei­ther a really good hos­tel, or a bad ho­tel,” jokes Laf­fey.

The Lodge Res­tau­rant is in its third sea­son. The lunch menu is a dis­tilled ver­sion of the din­ner of­fer­ing, and in­cludes Moules Frites (¤15), har­vested from Laf­fey’s own mus­sel farm in nearby Kil­lary. It’s an enor­mous bowl of plump, bright orange mus­sels gen­er­ously gar­nished with lo­cal sea sam­phire and the creamy sauce is de­light­fully salty and rich, with a pleas­ant con­sis­tency, per­fect for dip­ping the ex­cel­lent hand-cut chips into. The Lamb Burger (¤15) is ex­cep­tion­ally tasty. The lamb is Bernard King’s Con­nemara Or­ganic Moun­tain Lamb, and it makes for a juicy mouth­ful. A chia seed bun, made for the Lodge by Welsh’s Bak­ery in Clif­den, is a per­fect ves­sel for the burger. A tangy tzatziki, a crunchy seeded salad and those yummy chips make for won­der­ful ac­ces­sories to the burger.

Dessert (¤7) is a lux­u­ri­ously moist cho­co­late mousse cake with a tangy fruit coulis, and it’s made in-house, along with all other cakes on the menu, the bread, the scones and the flat­bread pizza bases. The cof­fee is agree­able though not re­mark­able (¤3), and is made with an Ital­ian blend sup­plied by the Gal­way Cof­fee Com­pany.

Though the ac­com­mo­da­tion is open year-round The Lodge Res­tau­rant is open from April to Septem­ber/Oc­to­ber. AMcE

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