Sabor at Corry’s Food Hall, Loughrea

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Peruvian style pork belly served with onion salsa and fried potatoes.

Peruvian style pork belly served with onion salsa and fried potatoes.

Over the years Loughrea has not had many new cafés/restaurants, and now in the space of less than six months, I visited a third new venture. The Corry family has had a butcher’s business in Loughrea for many years and just two years ago they made the brave move to a new architect-designed building beside the old railway station. The café is situated on an open mezzanine upstairs and is now producing some really good food. Like several places I talked about recently, it is on its third incarnation, the new head chef and proprietor Nigel along with his wife Magaly at front of house, has I believe got the right formula and range of products.

The café is open for breakfast and snacks from Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. The name Sabor is of Spanish origin and means ‘flavour’. I ordered the soup of the day, thankfully not the usual vegetable soup that seems to be everywhere. It was leek and potato, it was creamy, and you could taste both the leek and potato flavours. It was really good and cost €3.95, which I think is a fair and reasonable price for soup. The soup was served with homemade bread and all the breads are made in the kitchen each morning, when most of us are dead to the world asleep. Most of the main courses are €9.95 with one special each day for €7.95. I was delighted to see that bacon and cabbage is on the menu every day, but I plumped for the Peruvian style pork belly served with onion salsa and fried potatoes. How could I resist it as I love pork belly and was curious to see what the Peruvian take on it is.

The main difference is that it is a much bigger portion than one normally sees in most restaurants, and it is not compressed. It is a hearty lunchtime helping and would be quite acceptable in most night-time ventures at close to twice the price. The reason I particularly loved this version of it is that all the layers of succulent fat were there below the crispy top, and that is where the real flavour is. Add to that the fact that all the pork is sourced by Declan Corry from a local farm, just down the road, and you know you are getting something special.

Now I know there are some who will think this is a cholesterol bombshell, but there are many things you could be eating that are a lot worse for you, foods where the cholesterol is hidden away by the complicated processing and the impossible to understand food labelling.

This is the way my grandfather had his bacon and rashers every day and I spent many a happy summer holiday morning with a plate of fried eggs from the garden and succulent fat bacon rashers. The onion salsa on top of the pork was freshly made and is apparently the normal accompaniment in Peru. The only thing I would change if ordering again is to ask for an extra helping of the fried potatoes that came with the dish. For dessert, I had a chocolate and Baileys pudding with vanilla ice cream. It was decadent looking but light in texture and really good.

Downstairs is a deli counter with every item produced daily in the kitchen upstairs. It is an impressive counter with items like pesto made with traditional basil, also a lovely pesto made with coriander that I tasted and immediately had to buy as it is really really good. Other items worth trying are the home cooked ham, which is marinated for 48 hours in a mix of tangerine juice and maple syrup, the potato salad, Waldorf salad, and Asian noodle salad. The key difference between this deli counter and many others is that everything is made in-house by the chef.

There is also a good selection of meals ready for the oven such as Guinness pie, fish pies, and several vegetarian dinners. The bread counter has several different breads and cakes, again all made each day. I sampled the bread and butter pudding with chocolate sauce and can recommend it. They also have already an extensive menu for outside catering, not bad for just six weeks in business.

For further details contact Sabor at Corry’s Food Hall in Loughrea on (087 ) 263 1474.

Lastly a reminder that the Kinvara farmers’ market is back on for the summer, every Friday from 11am, and as I said last year it is really worth a visit, particularly on a fine day as you have a coffee, some cake, and listen to live music.


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