Kil­lary fjord Heron food takes flight

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - SEVEN DAYS - AOIFE McELWAIN The Mis­un­der­stood Heron, Der­ry­na­cleigh, Leenaun, Co Gal­way. 087-9915179 www.face­­un­der­stood­heron Open Wed­nes­day – Sun­day 11am to 6pm

When Reinaldo Seco came from Chile to Con­nemara to work in Mary and Jamie Young’s Kil­lary Ad­ven­ture Com­pany just be­yond the vil­lage of Leenaun along the Kil­lary fjord, it was sup­posed to be a short-term stay. In­stead, he met Kim Young, who was also work­ing at her par­ents’ ad­ven­ture cen­tre that summer. Young and Seco have been in­sep­a­ra­ble ever since. To­gether they’ve trav­elled the world but they kept com­ing back to the cor­ner of Con­nemara that first brought them to­gether.

In Easter of 2017, the pair opened the shut­ters of the Mis­un­der­stood Heron, a food truck that sits on the edge of Kil­lary Har­bour in north Con­nemara, look­ing out on one of only three fjords in Ireland. Across the wa­ter is Mayo and in the wa­ter be­tween are the fa­mous Kil­lary Fjord mus­sels. Young and Seco’s friend, the car­pen­ter Martin Hughes, built the out­door pic­nic benches and the wooden fa­cade which helps this food truck blend beau­ti­fully into its en­vi­ron­ment.

Those Kil­lary Fjord mus­sels (¤8.50) are on the menu, too, as are Kil­lary lamb samosas (¤3.50), made with lamb from the Kil­lary Sheep Farm less than a 10-minute coastal drive away from the food truck. The lamb samosas are sen­sa­tional parcels of filo pas­try stuffed with suc­cu­lent shreds of spiced lamb meat, served along­side some re­ally good home­made pick­led cu­cum­ber and onion.

Tasty chicken is sand­wiched be­tween slices of de­li­ciously moist seeded brown bread (¤4 per sand­wich). The bread is baked fresh by Young, and the green salad leaves in the sand­wiches come from Young’s mother’s garden. They’re wrapped in bak­ing pa­per and twine, per­fect for hik­ers. “At the mo­ment, we’re lo­cal where pos­si­ble,” ex­plains Kim, “but we would even­tu­ally love to have everything sourced from within 20 km ra­dius.”

A flaky pas­try quiche is topped with toma­toes, goat’s cheese, pome­gran­ate and kale (¤5) and a yummy pastie is stuffed with a creamy chorizo fill­ing. For dessert, there is a small se­lec­tion of cakes such as car­rot (¤2.80 a slice) and a banoffi pie (¤3). Thin oat bis­cuits dipped in choco­late (¤1.50) make a great ac­com­pa­ni­ment to our cof­fee to go. Reinaldo whips up two ex­cel­lent flat whites (¤2.50) made with Cloud­picker cof­fee. Frank Kavanagh and Peter Sz­tal sent a barista trainer down to the food truck to help Seco and Young get the most out of the cof­fee beans, roasted in Dublin.

So, what’s be­hind the name? Well, their logo is a lit­tle heron wear­ing welling­ton boots and car­ry­ing an um­brella. Kim tells me the story she cre­ated for the brand. “Other herons might think he’s a bit strange, but he’s re­ally just mis­un­der­stood. He wears the wellies and car­ries the um­brella be­cause he doesn’t like to get wet.” So there you have it.

The leg­is­la­tion around set­ting up a food truck in Ireland is cur­rently quite a pro­hib­i­tive and lengthy process. The Mis­un­der­stood Heron re­sides on pri­vate land which has en­abled them to set up shop in this most spec­tac­u­lar of set­tings. Young and Seco have fol­lowed their dream of liv­ing in this beau­ti­ful part of Ireland, while not com­pro­mis­ing on their food of­fer­ing. They’ve got an eye to what will please the lo­cals but their fo­cus on great in­gre­di­ents and slightly un­ex­pected spe­cial­i­ties, such as those de­li­cious Kil­lary lamb samosa, re­ally makes them to stand out. Give your­self a rea­son to head west this summer and make sure a visit to The Mis­un­der­stood Heron is on your itin­er­ary.

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