With Willie Shaw
This week I visited Basilico Oranmore for the launch of the new daily special offers menu. I think the early bird special is now becoming old hat and many restaurants are doing special deals every day and not just up to 7pm. In fact I think that many people now are not interested in the traditional menu, they just ask what is on special today. In addition to this many restaurants have used the Groupon method to gain extra customers. Sites like Grabone, Livingsocial, and boardsdeals are mushrooming like never before and while they do attract 100 or 200 customers the poor restaurant gets practically nothing. I may stand corrected, but the way I believe they work is the company asks that you cut your normal price by half for the offer, then it takes 50 or 60 per cent of that smaller figure as its charge, leaving the restaurant with maybe 20 or 25 per cent of the normal full price. My last word on these sites is that if you are a regular user, you may like to know about a site that has been created, it is called www.mydealpages.ie, if you log on you will immediately see every deal on every groupon site in Ireland at that point in time.
Anyway back to Basilico; as you may have noticed it is no longer in the Clarinbridge location and if you are wondering whether it will reopen later in the year the answer is no, the owners are going to concentrate on Oranmore. They have two special value menus now, one being a midweek menu of a starter and main course for €15.50, available Sunday to Thursday all night and Friday and Saturday up to 7pm. There are four or five starters and four or five mains, and the menu is changed each week. The other menu is based on an idea that seems to be finding popularity in many towns and cities; it is for a single special dish each night of the week. Monday’s offering is any pizza for €9; Tuesday’s a grill main course €9; Wednesday’s is pasta, €9; Thursday’s catch of the day, €9; Friday is wine club night with a bottle of wine and a cheese platter €19.95; and on Sunday night a child’s main course comes with a free dessert.
I chose from the €15 for two courses menu, and had a bruschetta Italiana to start; it was both delicious and big enough to feed two, any thoughts I might have had about the portions being small to match the price were dispelled immediately. I also had the fritto misto which is a selection of crisply fried fish with genuine homemade chips, again a large portion and delicious. There was a new bruschetta on the menu that caught my eye — bruschetta caponata is a Sicilian recipe and made from braised aubergines, olives, capers, and tomato with garlicky toasted slices of ciabatta. I really recommend that you try this as it is a great combination of tastes and perfect for two people to share with a glass of wine, it costs €4.50. All the various menu offers are on the website.
Car boot sale in a restaurant
The Gallery restaurant/ café in Gort had a novel event last Sunday morning. It had a car boot sale inside in the restaurant, well not strictly a car boot sale, but everyone had a table to display their unwanted bits from the garage or attic and did not have to worry about the weather. What a brilliant idea, and it was packed to the door with buyers and sellers, plus the front part of the café was really busy selling coffees and cakes, etc.
It was well subscribed with people wanting to get a table so the company is now going to do it on the first Sunday of each month. There will not be any professional stallholders, just people wanting to make a few bob from excess bits and bobs around the house or garage. They are also going to try to ensure that each week there are different sellers, that way you are sure of a few bargains. I bought several items and I reckon I found some great bargains.
If interested call to The Gallery in Gort. Maybe some other enterprising restaurant owners will take on the idea.