Druids Lane restaurant and wine bar, Quay Street

Homemade lemon tart at Druids Lane.

Homemade lemon tart at Druids Lane.

Druids Lane restaurant and wine bar has been open at No 9 Quay Street for 11 years now, however the history of the building goes back to 1663. It was originally owned by King Charles II, who on May 1 1663 leased the building for 500 years to the honourable George Duke of Albermarie at a rent of £6 11s 9d (less than €10 per year ). I am guessing that the current occupier, Camilla Cutlar, is paying a wee bit more rent in 2010. It is situated just the other side of the lane that borders The Quays bar and is set out much as it would have been when it was a house. The décor is old world and, being practical, I don’t think any other type of ambience would work in a building with that history and architecture.

The restaurant seats fewer than 40 people on two floors, so you will not be overcrowded with large, boisterous, groups that sometimes can be OTT when you are dining out as a couple or perhaps with a few friends. Although Camilla takes booking she always leaves space for walk-ins. This is worth noting as many places in Quay Street fill up pretty early at the weekends and you may not be able to wander in and look for a table. Camilla will always do her best to get you a table, even if it means asking you to go and have a pint and come back in a short while.

Camilla has worked as a chef in many countries and several Galway restaurants. She still does some of the cooking, and of course makes certain that everything going to the table is up to her standard. There are two menus, including an early bird with two courses for €20 and three courses for €25. Examples of the choices are mussel and coconut chowder, Moroccan chicken, and homemade sticky toffee pudding. This is available from 3.30pm to 7pm each day.

We chose from the a la carte menu. For starters I had a duck and potato cake with salad and sweet and sour sauce, €8.50. This is a variation of the fish cake that many places are serving, it was delicious, a nice crispy outer and confit duck leg mixed with good mashed potato inside. I would be tempted next time to order two and have it as my main course. My companion had scallops with very thin crispy potato cakes that were like a cross between rosti and potato bread. They came with a nice rich sauce that matched well.

We ordered a really nice bottle of Italian Verdicchio called Masso Isolato at €26. There are also several house wines available by the glass. We continued on with fish for mains and my choice was a fillet of plaice topped with a layer of salmon mousse and buerre blanc, €25.50. It is unusual to see something creative being done with plaice and this was soft, delicate, and melt in the mouth. It was served on a bed of mash and a side serving of stir fried vegetables. Our other main course was sea bass with stir fried vegetables and sautéed baby potatoes, €25.50. My friend was happy with it but agreed that the plaice was the dish he would order on a return visit.

Most of the menu is decided each day as Camilla buys fresh and whatever is available is what is on the menu. The shellfish is all local and salads are local and organic. We just had one dessert, a homemade lemon tart, €7, which was delicious. To book a table call 091 563015.

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