Barbecue-style cuisine at its best at The Breeders Athlone

Everybody enjoys a good barbecue. Unfortunately, the unforgiving nature of Irish weather means opportunities to enjoy quality barbecued meat are often few and far between. That is why I am here to tell you all about The Breeders restaurant in Athlone.

Breeders offers the finest of barbeque-style cuisine to its customers all year round from its charming premises on Sean Costello Street. Head chef and owner Gus Gaetani has more than 16 years experience of cooking for the Irish palate. Hailing from Argentina and with an Italian father, Gus brings his very own brand of culinary expertise to the kitchen with some amazing results.

My interest in Breeders was tickled a number of weeks ago when I was informed of a unique addition Gus has made to his kitchen: the Mibrasa. This is an impressive two-in-one charcoal oven/grill, now proudly installed in Gus’s kitchen and the first of its kind in Ireland.

The charcoal oven creates heat far greater than your normal cooker, meaning juices that would traditionally run from the meat on cooking become trapped within, offering a truly mouth-watering meal. Added to this, Gus imports a particular brand of charcoal from his native Argentina that produces more heat than the typical charcoal used in this country. The combination of charcoal and heat makes the meat flavoursome and tender with a smoky and delicious taste.

The establishment itself is welcoming in its design. The warm interior of browns, blacks, and dark reds make it cosy although spacious, while charming curios like old stoves and lanterns, book shelves and cork-filled vases scattered throughout give it the character of a modern-day saloon. Windows let just enough light in, creating a relaxing ambience. This is an ideal venue for any occasion, from a family meal to a business lunch or a party with friends.

I am greeted by a smiling Gus and his wife Clara with a warm handshake. A tour of the kitchen follows where I am introduced to the beast that is Mibrasa. I am already impressed as Gus leads me to my table. I leave the choice of dishes I am about to taste in his capable hands.

The first dish presented to me is nachos drenched in beautiful salsa and guacamole, served on a bread board with a selection of homemade sauces. The taste of the charcoal cooker immediately strikes you and gives the food a beautiful, smokey character. There is a plethora of tasty flavours here and you get the feeling that what you are eating is as healthy as it is delicious. I should stop and save room but I polish off the lot! ‘Worry about it later’, I tell myself.

The second dish is sea bass with king prawns and potato. This really is a treat. The fish is cooked to perfection, melt-in-the-mouth, and full of different flavours that complement each other perfectly. There is an explosion of juices in my mouth as I bite into the king prawns. The aioli sauce made with Spanish olive oil and garlic is particularly satisfying and brings the whole meal together so well.

Gus approaches with the third dish: rump steak served with mushrooms, onions and a large potato in garlic. This is the one that will keep bringing customers back to Breeders. The steak is medium rare and the knife cuts through it like butter exposing a juice-filled pink centre to die for. There is a variety of tastes here from the meat to the mushrooms and onions, again the charcoal cooker giving the meal a certain character that other establishments simply cannot provide. Pistacio ice cream and chocolate cake round off a very satisfying meal.

Breeders is truly a place for any occasion. Whether you are having a party, a dinner with your family, stepping out for lunch, or looking for somewhere to unwind while you watch live sport on a large screen, Breeders really does tick all the boxes. There is a wide selection of wines and craft beers in-house and ample car parking outside. Portions are large while maintaining a high standard, meaning you get both quality and quantity for your money.

The Breeders is located at 84 Sean Costello Street, Athlone, and is open on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 4pm, on Friday and Saturday from 2pm, and on Sunday from 1pm, being closed on a Tuesday.

For more information or to make a booking call (090 ) 6477534.

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