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Sallybrook’s Brook Inn is busy and buzzy at 6.00pm on a Friday evening. The fact that it’s just after Christmas and the day before New Year’s Eve may have something to do with it and we see quite a few families enjoying the food, and the festive lights, both inside and outside. The place is close to full so just as well that we had booked in advance.
Soon, we are seated comfortably at our table and studying the menus, they have an early Bird as well as the A La Carte. The Early Bird looks like good value but, on this occasion, we go with the A La Carte.
We soon have an opportunity to order our drinks. They have some Irish craft beers here and also some Irish gins. I haven't tried the Gunpowder before so I order that and indeed enjoy the gin as the evening goes on.
From a good choice of starters - you may see the menus online here - I pick the Slow Cooked Crispy Pork Belly with Toffee Apple puree, Black pudding, Hazelnut, star anise.
Duck (and beetroot!)
Mine is well cooked and presented and goes down well and the same could be said about CL’s Citrus Cured Salmon with Pickled Cucumber, Rock Samphire, Pink Grapefruit, Saffron Aioli. Both starters are of a very good standard indeed.
And that standard is maintained as the mains arrive. I'm very impressed indeed with the Crisp Barberry Duck breast with Confit Potato, Beetroot Textures, Spinach, Roast Jus served with a Salad of Pomegranate, Pickles, Pink Grapefruit, Mango, Organic Leaves and Feta Cheese. The spelling may not have been great (it’s Barbary lads!) but it was a terrific mix of flavours, textures and colours!
And the report from the other side of the table is also glowing as CL tucks in to the Pan roasted fillet of Hake with Celeriac Puree, Potato Terrine, Mussels, Samphire, Baby Spinach, Chive Oil, Grilled Prawn, Shellfish Cream, slow roast Tomato. Again well cooked and well presented.
And well served too. We met three or four different servers during the busy evening. All were helpful and efficient and even had time for a chat as the early wave of diners began to make way for the second wave. Very enjoyable experience in a very comfortable venue.
You won’t go hungry in the Brook Inn. It is open all day, every day, so you can have breakfast, lunch and dinner there. And another thing, the portions are Irish (big!), as I found out when I visited this week.
It was a bad night, the rain lashing down. But parking is close by and soon we were seated in the comfortable dining area. Despite the weather last Wednesday evening, the dining area was very busy and the bar alongside was doing okay as well.
The menus, including the well priced Early Bird (2 course for €21.50), were soon brought to our table, near the fire! Quite a decent wine list as well and they also sell a few non-mainstream beers, as well as Stonewell Cider.
CL started off with the Chicken Liver Parfait Apple & Cranberry Chutney (8.95), Ciabatta and Granny Smith Jelly. Quite a large portion! But very flavoursome and enhanced by the chutney and jelly. Mine was more straightforward: The Brook Spicy Buffalo wings (7.25), Lime & Coriander Dip. Good quality sweet spicy wings tamed, a little, by the cool dip.
Spotted the McGrath's No.5 (5.95) on the menu and needed a sip or two of this very agreeable ale to go with the wings, not to mention a glug or two, or three, of water. Meanwhile, CL was thoroughly enjoying her impressive glass of Real Compania Verdejo (7.50), aromatic, fruity and with a good dry finish.
Both starters had been of a high standard and that continued with the mains. A staggering array of enticing options included pasta, curry, meats (including steaks) and fish. I was tempted by the Tasting of Organic Pork but picked the Roast Rack of Lamb Herb Crust (23.95), Carrots with Rosemary, Confit Shoulder, Fondant Potato Red Wine Jus.
The rack was excellent and that confit shoulder was dark and meltingly tender. Everything was perfect and, in terms of quality and quantity, it was quite a plateful! And the same could be said of the other mains: Fresh Bream, Pan fried (23.95), Warm Potato Salad with Bacon and Spring Onion, Wild Mushroom cream & wilted Spinach. Two happy customers, having indulged in a feast for the eyes, not to mention the waistline, stepped out into the continuing rain, promising to be back another night to try the desserts!
Greg Murphy is Head Chef here. He had shared his Sausage and Potato Christmas stuffing on Twitter before the festival and we used it over the holidays and found it perfect! It may be used at any time and you’ll find the recipe here.
Greg is the grand nephew of Sean Kinsella of the Mirabeau Restaurant, Dublin. “Sean was Ireland’s first celebrity chef whose guest list included Hollywood greats like Burt Lancaster, Richard Burton and Laurence Olivier.” So Greg has a bit to go but, as he gives new twists to familiar foods, he sure is heading in the right direction!