McGinns on the Quay, Dock Road, Galway

Last week I visited McGinns on the Docks (previously Sheridan’s ) to see what the new owners are serving in that lovely room upstairs overlooking the dockside area. The first thing I noticed is that it is now also an exhibition area and currently features some stunning limited edition framed photos by Joe Geoghegan of scenes from the Volvo Ocean Race. They are quite spectacular, well framed and mounted. In fact from any small viewing distance they look like paintings. There is also an exhibition by six local Galway photographers downstairs. I understand this will be a venue for further exhibitions.

The room has had just a slight change in colour, otherwise it is much the same as before. The menu has a wide range of dishes, however on the evening that I was there the menu had a very tempting specials section which was all fish dishes, and why not in such an idyllic dockside setting? I chose the Dublin Bay prawns and fresh water crayfish bisque, €6.90, it was delicious and the addition of a garlic filled rouille on top was a lovely little taste explosion. My companion had squid in a light tempura batter and chilli dressing, this is a dish I love to see on menus and is becoming more popular in Galway, in fact I would have liked it as a main course option.

For the main course, I chose pan seared scallops served with hot beetroot, crispy prosciutto, and basil foam, €24, and my dining companion had the Dover sole meuniere with lemon and herb butter, €21. I was surprised by the relatively low price for the Dover sole as I have seen it served at up to €35, which to my mind is a lot of money for a piece of fish no matter how ‘prime’ it may be. We ordered a glass each of the house sauvignon blanc which was a generous measure if perhaps a little too chilled.

As you can see in the attached photograph, the scallops were served beautifully and in a way that perhaps you could copy and do at home. Pipe some mashed potato onto your plate, then add a thin slice of beetroot followed by the scallop, topped with whatever your favourite contrasting taste is, or indeed just a touch of the juice from the pan. It was delicious and accompanied by some roast aubergines, peppers, and onions plus some extra roast potatoes. The Dover sole, while not huge, was a perfect size for my guest and I guess that explains the relatively reasonable price. Dover sole is a very filling fish and I think many people would be quite happy with a smaller size portion, often called a slip sole. An alternative that restaurants could do is to offer diners a choice of, say, €19-€23 for a slip sole, and €30-€35 for a larger sole that would satisfy the biggest appetite. There is something about sole that needs a really good high heat and the touch of a good chef to get it just right, which is why a lot of people do not cook it at home. For dessert I had a slice of warm dark chocolate tart, which was yummy and just the right temperature.

The chef is French and it is reflected in the overall style of the menu. McGinn’s is open Monday to Saturday inclusive and bookings can be made by calling (091 ) 564905. There is a special wine and food dinner planned for Wednesday June 29 for €35 per person. Each course will have a specially selected wine to accompany it and introduced by the winemaker.

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