Nourish, a new family favourite in Barna

In the small but salubrious village of Barna, restaurants do not change very often. There is Donnelly’s Bar, of course, and O’Grady’s on the Pier, with its unparalleled views of the bay. The Twelve, the boutique hotel in the centre of the village, has plenty of dining options. It offers everything from fine dining at the West restaurant, to more casual options at the Pins bar, bistro, and bakery, and the popular Pizza Dozzina. An Indian, a Chinese, and an Italian takeaway round out the options nicely.

It was something of a surprise then when popular Mulberry’s restaurant and wine bar changed it branding to Dulse last year. Popular with the family market for a decade, the fishy new name proved off-putting and it struggled to recapture its market. It is now Spiced, an Asian fusion restaurant and takeaway with a focus on Indian cuisine which is already attracting good reviews.

There are few clouds without silver linings however, and Nourish Cafe was perfectly placed for taking up the slack in the family market. Newly extended and decorated in bright shades of cyan and magenta in a retro-modern cottage style, with decorative shelves of jam and wooden furniture, Nourish has become a constant and reliable part of village life over the last three years. On the main road at the front of the shopping complex, it is part bustling cafe, part gourmet food store which sells its own and local products.

Nourish was opened in 2014 by Brenda Murphy and chef Kevin Jordan, and with extensive experience between them they were well placed to take over this former Arabica. A large off-site catering kitchen allows them to run an outdoor catering company from the business also.

In this charming bistro style restaurant, there is no such thing as a typical customer — you will see families with teenagers, young mothers with toddlers, and friends of all ages chatting over a coffee and a scone. It specialises in daily home baking, fresh soups, and lunchtime specials, a takeaway menu, and more. At Nourish you are guaranteed delicious food and a warm welcome.

The food at Nourish is fresh and tasty, offering a wide range of options for breakfast, lunch, and dessert. Signature dishes include poached eggs on a boxy potato cake, two perfectly poached wobbling eggs, the luscious yolk cascading onto crispy bacon and glazed with Hollandaise sauce (€7 ); the farm to fork salad with Fivemiletown goat’s cheese salad tossed with walnuts, served with apple, pear, and golden raisin chutney, crispy brioche croutons, and warm honey syrup (€9.95 ); or warm tartlet of goat’s cheese and red onion marmalade with side salad (€9.95 ), a very affordable and filling lunch time option.

The breakfast menu is filled with favourites. The classic ‘full Irish’ at €9.95 comes with pork sausages, black pudding, centre cut bacon, Corrib free range eggs, and vine tomato served with toast or brown bread and tea or coffee. For a good, hearty, start to the day, choose from the homemade sausage roll with Ballymaloe or a bacon butty with a runny fried egg and tomato relish. For a lighter choice, there is porridge, fresh fruit, with yogurt and honey, or homemade seeded brown scone with Nourish’s own jams or marmalade.

For lunch there are bagels, panini, wraps, and more, filled with everything from coronation chicken to Connemara smoked salmon, onion, and caper berry pickle. Bigger bites run to inventive salads such as Asian chicken paleo salad and homemade quiche. The daily specials might include warming curries and stroganoffs. Everything is well priced with nothing over €10 and many options considerably less than that. Sundays are all about brunch, with the usual savoury breakfast choices joined by a choice of pancakes.

Nourish comes into its own with bakes and desserts. Celebration cakes are a speciality and fruit scones, tarts, and indulgent looking cheesecakes all lurk behind the glass counter. Hot drinks include very good coffee in all its usual variations, and there are teas and smoothies while the service is quick and friendly. Nourish has a lot going for it – convenient location with lots of free parking, friendly atmosphere, great menu, and value for money. Whether for breakfast or lunch, coffee or cake, it is always a pleasure to eat here.

This cafe is doing it right, diligently building up its regular customers. Anyone who visits has a good dining experience and real value for money. This success is built on hard work and good cooking with real ingredients, keeping prices keen and the atmosphere unpretentious. The team believe in going the extra mile. Nourish has a strong brand and a lot of potential for expansion to other small towns, it could well be a new Avoca for the west of Ireland.

Nourish Cafe and Pantry, 9 Barna Road, Seapoint, Barna, Co Galway. Tel (091 ) 596 778.

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