Perched above the busy main streets in the centre of Athlone sits this welcome addition to the town’s foodie scene.
Artfully located on Mardyke Street, just across from Athlone Towncentre, High Café occupies a first-floor space, offering customers everything from coffee and cake to a three-course special.
High Café is a clear winner for lunchtime, serving up a vast and varied menu that includes an array of sandwiches, a choice of breads, soups, salads, tagines (dishes traditionally cooked in an earthenware pot ), pizzas, pastas and burgers. There are also a few options for those in search of breakfast, including French toast, omelettes and scones.
Our eyes fix on the Moroccan influences on the menu and we opt for the falafel plate and lamb tagine. The falafels are smooth in texture, light, fresh and moreish. They are served up with homemade pitta, salad and spicy tomato dip. We are also treated to a taste of their harissa paste, a traditional hot chilli paste found in the north of Africa; a perfect portion for lunch or as a starter for an evening meal.
There is a selection of tagines on offer including cod and salmon, chicken and lamb. We go for the lamb option. The tagine comes out in a beautiful earthen tagine and contains melt-in-your-mouth lamb, green olives, French beans, potatoes and a slice of lemon, all covered in a lightly spiced sauce, and some more still-warm-from-the-oven flat bread to soak up the sauce.
While Moroccan cuisine is a huge influence for High Café, the eatery also offers plenty of other options. The pizzas sound tempting, with 10-inch and 12-inch options and a variety of toppings. The chef assures us the pizzas are thin-based with not too much sauce or cheese so the quality toppings can shine through. With a takeaway option available at the café, we will be back to try a pizza soon.
The Moroccan influence also means that any ham on the menu is in fact turkey ham and all meat is halal. There are plenty of choices for vegetarians and the menu in general is packed with healthy options.
Opening from 12 noon to late seven days a week, High Café is ideal for those looking to rest weary feet from shopping, after-work parties, lunchtime sandwiches, or chilled-out evening meals. Prices are reasonable and there are set menu options starting from €15.95. A bring your own bottle policy will surely be popular with diners looking to enjoy a night out without breaking the bank.
High Café is located at 23 Mardyke Street, Athlone. For more information find the business on Facebook.