independent

Sunday 21 September 2014

Special menus give visitors a flavour of Sligo

Emma Gallagher

Published 16/08/2014 | 12:00

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Elizabeth Doherty in the new cookie bar beside Osta

As Fleadh 2014 brings thousands of hungry visitors to Sligo, many local cafes and restaurants are doing special menus to cater for the large crowds.

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We check in with a few local eateries to see what they are offering during this hectic time.

Alan Fitzmaurice, head chef in the Glasshouse Hotel, said that their Fleadh menu includes a good few changes.

He added: "We are using local suppliers, we feel that it is important that everyone gets a twist.

"We are providing gourmet burgers, from a local butcher.

"We are keeping our prices the same as we feel that people should should be given a good time here."

The hotel is also running carveries, which will provide easy access for customers.

Alan said: "We also have a gourmet burger place out the front of the hotel, serving 100% Irish beef.

"A lot are going for the frozen burgers, but we are providing the full taste, the quality still has to be there.

"If customers enjoy a decent meal, then they will be more likely to come back," he added.

He said that with an estimated 350,000 people in Sligo, the chance is there to bring them back in six months or so time.

"We are extremely flat out, a lot of the staff are changing from their clogs to runners," he laughed.

Breakfast is served from 6.30am and carvery starts at 12pm, while the gourmet burger section is running from 2pm-1am.

Alan said: "We are also doing providing nibbles for those in our View Bar, such as chicken goujons.

"This is also ideal as people can enjoy an attractive view of the town," Alan said.

Eala Bhán on Rockwood Parade is providing a gourmet Fleadh menu for its customers.

Anthony Gray, owner, said that the restaurant's menu has been changed 'ever so slightly'.

He added: "We have to be thinking in terms of speed and efficiency.

"We are using local produce and want to highlight what Sligo has to offer."

He said that the restaurant is not operating its usual a la carte menu, instead a set menu exists.

A main is priced at €14.95, starter and main is €24.95 and three courses with tea or coffee is €24.95.

"We are open from 12pm and last orders are 10.30pm but we can stretch that out," Anthony explained.

"We have been looking forward to the Fleadh and we are taking a stall to the John F Kennedy Parade market from Thursday."

Anthony was also behind a local film, made by Laura Gaynor, that focused on the fine dining that Eala Bhan has to offer.

"The video and all that helps, the biggest thing about the Fleadh will be its legacy."

Also busy catering for the thousands of extra tourists is Gary Stafford and his team at Lyons Cafe.

He said that the popular restaurant is doing a menu based on its best sellers.

He added: "We have a nice buffet breakfast from 8am until 12pm.

"Then our carvery lunch dishes include the likes of beef bourguignon stroganoff, curries, vegetarian dishes for example.

"These are running every day until approximately 8pm. We normally close at 3pm.

"We also have a sandwich bar and a street food barbeque outside, specifically for the Fleadh."

Smokey bacon sausages and Lebanese chicken wraps are among the tasty offerings.

Gary added: "This is a grab and go - we are doing a special sandwich and drink offer for €5.

"We don't want to complicate it too much.

"Everyone and their families will be on board.

"The Fleadh is great for the town," he added.

A new pop up cafe is in place beside Osta.

Elisabeth Doherty said that the eatery, known as the hashtag cookie bar, is providing plenty of treats for Fleadh connoisseurs.

"We are providing a range of food and drinks, from coffees, milkshakes, sandwiches, crisps and of course, delightful homemade cookies.

"The bar is open for the whole month of August," she said.

Des Faul of Cafe Fleur said that the O' Connell Street venue made some alterations to its Fleadh menu.

He explained: "We usually have 28 items on our menu, for the week of the Fleadh there is our six best sellers.

"We adjusted it to use Irish produce, such as meat and cheese, to promote the Irishness of our menu."

People have baguette and wrap options and set prices exist too, he added.

"Our menu is between five or six euro, while coffees are two or three euro.

"To take the pressure off inside the cafe, we have a separate coffee unit outside.

"We keep this open later in the evening, when people want coffee or water.

"We are open from 8am until 11pm as we hit the weekend demand."

Another aspect is the green aspect of their products.

"All of our teas and coffees use disposable biodegredable cups, we brought these in especially for this as part of our green ethos."

Coach Lane at Donaghys are running a varied menu, such as breakfast baps, seafood chowder, their famous Buffalo wings and Sirloin steak sandwiches just some of what they are offering.

The bar is also hosting traditional music throughout the Fleadh.

In the Italian Quarter, Bistro Bianconi will be dishing up pizza and pasta from 12pm.

While in nearby A Casa Mia, there will be snacks, light bites and hot meals to eat in or take away.

Morgan Kerins, of A Casa Mia, said: "We also have plans to offer a number of other convenience items such as burgers, hot dogs, ice cream and pizzas to go for those on the move."

Annette Burke from the Gourmet Parlour on Bridge Street said that they will be offering delicious food such as quiches, wrap, sandwiches and their famous lemon cake.

She added: "We have delicious homemade breads too, tasty wraps, sausage rolls, soups, Chinese noodle salad and plenty of vegetarian options too."

These include lasagne and cous cous salad.

Treats include Belgian Chocolate cakes and a range of tarts.

"Everything is priced individually, our wraps start from €2.95 while our salads begin at €2.25.

"We are open 25 years next year.

"We were here for the last Fleadh, although it is a bit hazy as we were only starting up.

"There is more staff now and we will be doing much more for this Fleadh."

Joe Grogan of Hargadons said that the famous bar is using the same price and the same menu during the Fleadh.

He added: "We also have more specials, which are all local produce.

"We have six Irish craft beers as well as our usual Guinness and other beers."

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