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Warren Gillen's first floor restaurant is approached up rather steep stairs, creating a wonderful contrast as you emerge into a bright room which overlooks the quay and twinkling lights along the shore - and is imbued with that indefinably warm atmosphere of happy people dining.
Staff are welcoming and highly professional, and the opening details - really delicious breads and a complimentary amuse-bouche are very impressive. Warren takes pride in using as much local and organic produce as possible and hopes to be totally organic soon.
Meanwhile, he continues to serve some of the finest food in the south-east: menus are quietly impressive; without resorting to long or flowery descriptions, dishes like Kilmore crab risotto with chilli, ginger, mango & coriander, or fried Croghan Farm goats cheese, with salad of mangetout & red onion, and home-dried tomatoes are extremely appealing - and they consistently follow through on the plate, in memorable dishes which are beautifully balanced in presentation, flavour and texture.
Given the location, seafood is hard to resist but local meats are well represented too - roast rump of Slaney Valley lamb, for example, which might be served with unusual accompaniments like tomato & chilli provencal, balsamic & rosemary; vegetarian dishes are creative enough to have mainstream appeal, and you can finish off what is sure to be a memorable meal with a lovely dessert, such as a warm chocolate & pistachio brownie with Baileys custard & coffee granita: simply superb.
Well-trained, attentive staff complement the creative cooking - the wonder is how they can produce such outstanding food in a kitchen of this size. A short wine list is expanded by a page of nine or ten monthly specials; the two-course early dinner menu is exceptional value. GC
Text by Georgina Campbell, reproduced with kind permission.
Visit her website on http://www.ireland-guide.com/