The Townhouse restaurant, and really good pork products

The Townhouse restaurant has a new expanded summer menu, which is pretty comprehensive; it has also just launched a much bigger and better wine list. Fair play to it as most restaurants are cutting back on wine lists and menus. It is also championing many local suppliers, and that is one of the really good movements that has taken off recently in the restaurant world, all the more important when there are scares such as the e coli outbreak, which now seems to be traced to beansprouts, and the disturbing RTE programme on large scale pig production.

Anyway back to the Townhouse; I sampled the goujons of lemon sole with mixed leaves and homemade tartar sauce, €8.50, this was from a menu of 14 different starters. It was nice and crispy but it would have benefited from a little more seasoning. The fish was super fresh and the salad from Stephen Gould was, as always, excellent. Other starters included black pudding and cheese tartlet, chilli and coriander calamari, Clarinbridge mussels, and bruschetta.

The list of more than 30 main courses offers four different types of steaks, five different vegetarian dishes, and there is a total of eight main courses that are coeliac friendly. I choose the slow roast pork belly with black pudding mash, braised red cabbage, cider jus, and apple puree, €18.95. I was also tempted by the optional side serving of wasabi mash. The pork was quite a large portion, which I think would have benefited from a while longer in the oven, as I prefer it when it literally falls apart in your mouth. The red cabbage was among the best I have eaten, while the wasabi mash was a real star. Make sure you order the wasabi mash whenever you visit. I ordered a glass of the Foundstone chardonnay from the new wine list that has about 13 wines under €20, plus many others up to a maximum price of €25. The pricing reflects the current market where purchases of wines costing €40/€50/€60 is a thing of the past. One thing I am amazed about is the fact that there are so few restaurants offering BYOB (bring your own bottle ), especially when times are tough, and also the fact that we have a large student population who might be encouraged to eat out if they could bring wine along for a corkage price of €5 or €6.

For dessert, I opted for the lemon posset with shortbread wedges for €5.50, as you can see in the picture it was a big portion, and I licked every last morsel out of the dish. The quality of the posset was equalled by the shortbread; it was light yet full of flavour and a real treat. For bookings call The Townhouse restaurant at Quay Lane on (091 ) 534496

Really good pork products — Truly Irish

The recent programme on RTE I television by Philip Boucher Hayes has made a lot of people nervous about buying rashers and sausages. Having watched the programme I was pretty disgusted to see how some of the products are prepared; consequently when I visited a stand called Truly Irish in the artisan food village at the Bloom festival in Dublin last week I asked the representative to tell me more. The Truly Irish brand is a co-op of small pig producers throughout Ireland who have launched their own label to compete with the plethora of imported products without any compromise on quality, and they are Bord Bia approved. I tasted the sausages and rashers and was so impressed that I followed up by buying some and tasting again at home. They are excellent, the sausages are meaty and the rashers do not have any white residue when cooked (therefore no excess salt injected to soak up water ). There are, of course, many excellent local butchers who you can simply ask about the origin of what is for sale, but this recommendation is for when you are buying in SuperValu, Dunnes, or Centra. Check out the website www.trulyirish.ie

Cases Wine Warehouse Independence weekend barbecue

Cases on the Tuam Road has an Independence weekend barbecue taking place on Friday July 1. This year all proceeds go to Console, the wonderful charity based in Galway that helps those dealing with suicide.

For €20 you get great barbecue food, three glasses of wine, specially selected to match the barbecue foods, as well as entertainment, a raffle, and a €200 voucher for the best dressed lady, courtesy of Concepts in Oranmore.

Plus if you get a gang together, Cases is offering a ‘buy five tickets get the sixth free’ deal, ideal for friends or sports or social clubs. Book early, as there are limited tickets, by contacting Cases or Console.

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