Friday 21 July 2017

the west is won

The Galway dining scene can be a disappointment, but, as Lucinda O'Sullivan discovered, an exciting new addition to the city's eateries is worth making the trip west for

Lucinda O’Sullivan

Lucinda O’Sullivan

Lots of Galway's many restaurants are not up to much -- some of them are surviving purely on the custom of unknowing visitors to the City of the Tribes, as local people know of these eateries' weaknesses.

A welcome new addition to Galway dining is Sheridan's on the Docks, a gastropub and restaurant owned by Sheridan's Cheesemongers, which is situated in the birthplace of the writer Padraic O Conaire. The ground floor is your typical traditional-style pub. It does casual bar food and we had a drink there before adjourning upstairs to the restaurant -- they could do with a smiling Oirish barman!

The restaurant is a lovely spot with a modern rustic ambiance, serving what we would all admire as real modern-Irish food. Beautifully crafted wooden tables are complemented by natural linen runners, silver candlesticks and rail-back and cross-back chairs.

The white-and-open stone walls feature nice paintings, and a variety of Thirties-style uplighter lampshades -- there's an overall good feel to the place. We had a table by the window, where we sat nibbling on mixed olives, sun-dried tomatoes and delicious breads.

Starters (€8.50-€10.50) included Wexford scallops with leeks, capers and crubeens. Duck liver pate was served with Yorkshire pudding and a sherry vinaigrette, while Bellingham Blue beignets were combined with quince and endive.

There is much use of seashore produce and vegetables -- as is the practice in Denmark and throughout Scandinavia -- and I really liked that element. Brendan chose Angus salt beef (€8.50), which was thinly sliced in overlapping rows, and sprinkled with fresh herbs, finely diced cucumber and beetroot, and horseradish. Delicious.

I just loved my choice of pressed eel (€9.50). It was laid on its side and layered, terrine-style, with thin slices of potato and pickles, and scattered with herbs, curls of pickled ginger, and a blob of cheeky, tangy gribiche sauce: a mayo-style sauce with chopped pickles, capers and herbs. I would drive to Galway for that dish alone.

The menu changes frequently, depending on what comes in. Skate wing might be served with celeriac, local cockles and seashore vegetables; or slip sole might come with parsnip, Brussels sprouts and cockles. On our visit, monkfish came with pork belly, watercress, salsify, and cockles; while wild mallard was served with Jerusalem artichokes, onions and hazelnuts. A rib-eye steak was accompanied by scallions, horseradish and caper butter. Brendan had three rondelles of venison (€24.50) set around beetroot, chanterelles, onions, with juniper and green herbs -- absolutely superb. I loved my fine tranche of sauteed and browned turbot, which sat on green herbs and celeriac, and also came with mussels and pickled dillisk -- it was real value. With each main course you get a choice of potatoes or roast vegetables, so we had one of each: plenty for two people. The roast vegetables were carrots and parsnips, and they were equally good.

Puddings (all €7.50) included chocolate fondant; white chocolate and fennel mousse with spiced jelly; spiced pear and suet pudding with cinnamon ice cream; and a crab apple parfait with honeycomb. We shared the crab apple parfait and honeycomb which was light and zingy: the perfect finish.

Somewhat surprisingly, they were out of our first two wine choices, a Sicilian Nero d'Avola and a Rioja Crianza so, endeavouring to keep within a relatively modest price range in line with the food and the times, we moved on to a medium-bodied Vigna di Gino Rosso Piceno 2006 (€29) which is 70 per cent montepulciano and 30 per cent sangiovese. Our bill, with optional service, came to €123.70.

We were whisked back to our hotel in a taxi by a gentleman from the Ukraine -- actually, we didn't hear an Irish voice all evening.

L

Sheridan's on the Docks,

New Dock Street,

Galway.

Tel: (091) 564-905

www.lucindaosullivan.com

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