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Let's Avocuddle at Waterford’s Colourful Candied Hazlenut
The colourful tree, painted between the front door and the window, and climbing up the wall above both, catches your eye as you stroll along O’Connell Street in Waterford City.
There is a plant based restaurant inside and that interior is colourful too, a variety of tables and different coloured chairs, amusingly illustrated cushions scattered around a narrow shelf and a dresser full of pottery pieces.
Even the food is colourful. Gluten free, peanut free and plant based dishes are the order of the day (and of the evening) here and these dishes are full of flavour as well as we found out on a recent lunchtime visit to Teresa Heffernan’s The Candied Hazelnut.
Teresa, the chef/patron, is a busy girl, producing exciting, vibrant and extremely flavourful food using locally sourced produce. The menu changes daily and besides quite a few bits and pieces come from her very own garden.
With a rather big dinner scheduled for that evening, we were looking for something on the lighter side. Teresa has a good sense of humour too. After the first thing on the menu, Soup of the Day, she wrote: it’s too hot for soup folks! And, for most of this July, so it was.
I was tempted by The Bean Taco Fries served with salad (9.95). A terrific combination. The beans were a treat and you’d find it hard to get better fries.
Bean Taco Fries
At the other side of the table, the Blueberry Pancake Stack with Maple Syrup (5.95) was being eagerly demolished. And no shortage of blueberry. A few loose on the plate but plenty buried in the pancakes as well. Very very tasty indeed.
And we washed it all down with a a bottle each of the VitHit Apple and Elderflower (2.95,), a mid-day drink I’m getting to like, despite it costing forty five cent more here than I paid for it in Killaloe the previous week. They also sell bottled beer and wine by the glass and bottle. The wines (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvigon Blanc and Chardonnay) are all Chilean, all by Alameda, available by the bottle (€20), by the carafe and by the glass.
When up the country, and what a country it is, we often ignore the straight way home to Cork. Never know what you’ll find on a detour.
Although, to be frank, when we left Galway and headed for Cork via Killaloe, we had a good idea of what we’d find on the delightful Shannonside. Call to Wood and Bell, we had been told, the restaurant opened last November on Main Street, Killaloe, by local and Irish rugby legend Keith Wood and business partner Malcom Bell.
We had been to Killaloe previously. It, and Ballina across the bridge in Tipperary, are beautifully located by the Shannon, just below Lough Derg. From Scarrif down, we were close to the lake and stopped at one spot nearer to Killaloe, where dozens of families were enjoying the sun both in the cool water (well, I presume it was cool!) and on the grassy banks.
Soon we were in the little town and looking for Wood and Bell. It is easily found, on main street, and we were lucky enough to get parking just outside. We were welcomed in and seated by the window with the menus at hand.
Lunch is served Wednesday to Friday between 12 noon and 3.00pm and you have a pretty good choice: salads, sandwiches, wraps, meatballs,Nachos, scampi, burgers. Soup and chowder too but maybe a bit too hot for that particular day!
I go for the Crispy Buttermilk Chicken, Roast Garlic Aioli, salad leaves, tomatoes and crispy onions and fries of course. And I get quite a surprise when a burger arrives at the table. But that’s where I find my chicken - pity they didn’t say that on the menu. In any case, I get stuck in and enjoy every little bite.
No mistaken identity though with OBC’s choice: Open Wrap with Roast Mediterranean vegetables, mozzarella, pesto, rocket and olives. Quite a lovely dish, really full of flavour.
Wood and Bell has the advantage of having their own walled garden nearby, overlooking Lough Derg and the River Shannon. The garden, cared for by Wood and his wife Nicola, now produces much of the fruit, vegetables and herbs for the kitchens.
They do a Kids Menu here also and desserts. You can also get wine and bottled beer here (including some craft). We enjoy an non-alcoholic beverage on this occasion, one with a sporting connection. The VitHit range comes in a number of flavours, in 500ml bottles and is reasonably priced. We had the Lean and Green Apple and Elderflower one. Quite a treat!
By the way, they have a spacious and impressive room upstairs where you can enjoy dinner. Check the website for all the details.
After the meal, we headed down and over the bridge to Ballina. There was a cruise just about to set off for the lake. We were tempted but, as we had been on the boat on the Corrib the day before, gave it a skip, promising we’d be back to this lovely place, another gorgeous corner of the Hidden Ireland.