Conlon’s Oyster Bar and fresh fish in Ballybane

During the summer of 2008, Conlon’s Seafood Restaurant moved to its new premises, a few doors away in Eglinton Street. As you enter the new restaurant, there is a gorgeous art deco feel and the off white decor and furnishings add to a sense of openness. They have several different menus, a great value lunch menu offering a choice of five or six main courses for €9.90, eg, seafood risotto with salad and garlic bread, grilled fresh plaice with creamed potato and vegetable, and good old fashioned fish and chips.

The Oyster Bar menus features a selection of native and gigas oysters. The native oysters are €24 per dozen and the gigas oysters are €20 per dozen. The cooked oysters are all €12.30 per half dozen and include oysters tempura, oysters mornay, garlic oysters, and angels on horseback, ie, oysters wrapped in streaky bacon and grilled. Wines are available starting at €18 per bottle or €5 per glass.

The evening menu is primarily fish; however, there are some non-fish dishes available such as fillet steak with mushrooms with crispy onion rings, homemade chips, and roasted garlic butter for €27.50.

If you are ordering dinner in a specialist seafood restaurant it is always worth asking what is the absolutely freshest fish on the menu. All will be fresh (as opposed to freshly frozen ) but if there is any that just arrived in the kitchen from the boats that will always be my choice. One or two samples from the evening menu are: seared tuna steak on wok fried noodles with sweet chilli, spring onions, soy, and lime dressing for €19.50, and roasted fresh cod with garlic potatoes, ratatouille, and a herb dressing for €18.50

I called in recently for lunch and sampled the fish and chips of the day, which was haddock, and I also sampled the fish cakes with salad. The haddock was as fresh as it gets, snow white and succulent, the batter was sufficient without being over generous, and the chips are definitely homemade. At a cost of €9.95 this is pretty hard if not impossible to beat. To put it in context, I was in a bar yesterday where plaice and chips at lunchtime was €16.95, so check the prices and make your decision. The fish cakes contain quite a lot of mashed potato, but strangely enough they tasted all the better because of it. They were crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. If a fish cake is all fish it can be quite tough and rubbery. The accompanying salad was an excellent mix of different leaves, drizzled with lots of good dressing, and again the price was €9.95. I would order both again without hesitation.

If you have not been to Conlon’s and are a fish lover you are missing out. It is located near Eddie Rocket’s on Eglinton Street. If you have not been in Conlon’s for a while then I think you will be very pleasantly surprised at the new look and feel of the decor. Their telephone number is (091 ) 562268.

Another place not to be missed for seafood lovers is the new Duane’s Fresh Fish shop in Ballybane. It is located across from Thomas McDonogh’s and you will find it easily as it is the tallest white and glass building on that link road between the Boston Scientific roundabout and the Tuam Road, formerly called Carrah Tool and Die. I think it is an inspired location for a fresh fish shop as the time taken to go into town from that area to buy some fish means that most people will not have bothered. If you work in HP, Boston Scientific, Medtronic, Sap, or any of the myriad factories and offices in the area this is a godsend. Opening hours are Tuesday to Friday 10am to 6pm and Saturday 11am to 4pm.


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