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Once upon a time, fish was tolerated once a week, a kind of religious penance, and full of bones. Recent decades though have seen our fish shine on many a home and restaurant table. And our chefs are not stopping at that. Now they’re out foraging, checking the shore for a long overlooked bonanza.
I was recently in O’Dowd’s Seafood Bar & Restaurant alongside the harbour in Roundstone. This long established Connemara venue is one of 32 pubs, north and south, listed in the Michelin ‘Eating out in Pubs’ Guide 2016.
No shortage of meat dishes here, curries and pastas too and vegetarian of course, but fish is king. The results of the foraging can be seen in their starter of Seafood Hummus, a mains of Savoury Rice with Sea Veg, and a sweet of Carrageen Moss Pudding with Plum Compòte and cream.
Three years ago, I was in Connemara and found it quite difficult to get a craft beer. No bother this time. And they have a superb choice in O’Dowd’s with a full menu page detailing mainly local beers including beers by Independent, Galway Hooker, Corrib Brewing, Black Donkey Brewing and Spiddal River Brewing. They had the Galway Hooker Pale Ale on draught and that was my pick.
I started with that Seaweed Hummus, featuring locally harvested Dillisk and served with Olive Oil and Nori Bread. Looked great and tasted even better! Delighted with that and across the table CL was making her way through a plate of Stuffed Cashel Bay mussels, grilled and stuffed with garlic butter, breadcrumbs and herbs. Not bad but she knew she was second best at this stage!
Just like the two starters, our two mains came from the Specials Board. Mine were the Pan Fried fillets of Turbot served with the pub’s own (very tasty) Tartare sauce. CL’s pick was the Sweet and Spicy Baked Salmon. We had the usual vegetable choices: Chips and Salad or Mash and Veg. Happy punters at the end of that lot.
Hummus and Nori Bread
Indeed, there were quite a few happy punters around as both the bar and the two-roomed restaurant, while not totally full, was quite busy and with a good turnover between early and later diners, also a good mix of locals and visitors, quite the Bar of Babel.
Dessert, as sometimes happens, was shared. It was that delightful Carrageen Moss Pudding with Plum Compòte and cream, a smooth ending to a very good meal indeed. It is Michelin listed but prices are reasonable enough. For example, the Hummus cost €6.95, the turbot €21.59, the salmon €16.95, the dessert €4.95 and the Hooker was €4.70 a pint.