Heading into West Cork? Make a call to Dunmanway’s Wild Garlic
Every now and then, I get the notion to do a double. That usually means a walk on a beach or in a wood or a hill (even a mountain, a little one!), or a call to a museum or harbour, and combine that with a meal out, usually a lunch. Scored a lovely double recently, double tops you could say, with a stroll across the Gearagh and then a short trip to lunch at the relatively new Wild Garlic in the square in Dunmanway.
You’ll have no problem finding the restaurant. It is upstairs in a building with a prominent sign saying The Dunmanway Centre and you’ll see the Wild Garlic logo on the upstairs windows and on a free-standing notice board on the pavement. Wild Garlic is operated, since mid-summer 2022, by husband and wife team Pat and Anne Marie Kiely, both well-known in West Cork generally, and in Bantry where they ran the successful O’Connor’s Seafood Restaurant for many years. They are an experienced duo and are both chefs though Pat was doing front of house duty the day we called.
It is mostly a daytime restaurant, with breakfast, brunch and lunch. Evening meals are also offered, mostly as the days get longer but do check for Saturdays and for special occasions such as Valentine’s and Patrick’s Day. You’ll find the info on their Facebook and on Instagram at eat_at_wildgarlic.
It is an unexpectedly large restaurant with some 80 covers. The choice is also large and reinforced by a packed Specials Board which you’ll see on the wall along with a short list of wines. The staff will fill you in on the daily variations. For instance, on our visit there were not one but two Soup of the Day options!
Anyhow, we went straight to the mains. Took us a while to make up our minds as they have offerings listed under different headings such as Signature Salads Bowls, Signature Sandwiches, and More Substantial.
Local producers are well supported here with names such as Gubbeen, De Roiste, Bandon Vale, Clonakilty Brewery and Caherbeg on the list. I’m always happy to see Caherbeg produce and my choice was the Loaded Caherbeg Beef Homemade Burger. That arrived with Crumbled Ballyvourney Black Pudding, Cashel Blue Cheese and Sriracha hot sauce, all in a soft and delicious brioche bun and included a side of fries. This was a mega plateful, a very generous one. Put it like this, I didn’t need a dinner that evening!
CL meanwhile went for one the salads. She had been tempted by the Chef’s Buddha Bowl. With this, you may pick your own protein (beef, chicken, salmon, etc) and you’ll also get quinoa, roasted veg, crushed nuts with a soy and ginger sauce.
But in the end, she picked the Ballycotton Oak Smoked Salmon Caesar with tomato, anchovy dressing, garlic and herb crouton, and Italian aged Parmesan and lemon. Another bowl packed with great flavour and, with a side of special Parmesan and Truffle Aioli fries added, this was also quite a serving, again no dinner required that night!
Anne Marie is also quite a baker and we couldn’t leave without checking that out. You can also buy the breads and pastries here and, in no immediate need of dessert, that is exactly what we did. And our Lemon Curd Tarts tasted very well indeed later on that evening and filled the small gap that had arisen at that stage.
So that was one really enjoyable day. Great walk in the sunshine by the Gearagh --some pics here -- (though there’s always some sadness when you think of all the people that had to leave their homes when the place was flooded back in the 1950s to facilitate the construction of hydro-electric dams nearby). And then that lovely lunch, friendly service too, in Wild Garlic.
Tel: 023 88 55643