Are you looking for a fine dining experience, without the pomp, in an old style building with high ceilings, fabulous local artwork, and modern but traditional decor?
Well, you will not go far wrong if you visit Brennan's Lane Bar and Restaurant in the heart of Ballina.
My wife Julie and I were lucky enough to sample the ultimate dining experience, thanks to an invitation by Keith and Siobhán Brennan, proprietors of one of Ballina's finest restaurants.
Immediate impressions of the open plan kitchen and restaurant were a simple Wow, and we were wowed constantly throughout the night.
The menu boasted a terrific choice of seafood, meats, salads, gluten free and vegetarian options.
For the starter I chose the trio of pork – an amazing masterpiece presentation.
As a chef myself, I noted the slow-roasted belly of pork, was cooked to the highest standard – soft, melt in your mouth consistency, but with texture – a hard feat to accomplish; this was complimented with a slice of Dominic Kelly's homemade black pudding, and an escalope of pork, topped with a fine jus, celeriac puree, and a mesculin salad.
My wife chose the caramelised red onion tartlet, with a fried Irish brie cheese (from Wicklow ), served in a bowl with olives, mixed leaves, and sun-kissed tomatoes, which she thoroughly enjoyed.
After the beautiful starter, I was quite excited at the thought of local rump of lamb with a parmesan and pesto crust. This main course was definitely worth waiting for, the slow roasted garlic jus would have been a winner with any meal and the medium lamb was cooked to perfection; as was Julie's pan-fried corn-fed chicken breast with tomato and red pepper relish, served with a thyme jus.
Both the main courses were accompanied by the nicest selection of vegetables. A large perfectly steamed barrel shaped carrot, al dente florets of broccoli and cauliflower, and a parcel of evenly proportioned green beans wrapped in local streaky bacon, all beautifully cooked.
Dessert of a homemade large choux pastry ball, filled with creme patissiere and topped with chocolate sauce, was served with a luxury vanilla pod ice cream and presented with carved fruit and spun sugar.
The warm apple and pear tarte was also top drawer and perfectly finished the overall high standard food experience.
Although the food was magical, the service was equally so – warm, friendly, and professional.
Apart from the fine dining restaurant, Brennans Lane serves a top class lunch menu, served from 12 noon to 5pm daily, which boasts a roasted chicken clear broth; a tomato, red onion, and buffalo mozzarella bruschetta; homebaked breads; rustic salads and fresh pasta dishes, all reasonably priced, and the roast of the day, a bargain €10.
Brennans Lane is also a family orientated eatery with a kids’ menu that strays away from the bland and features healthy and nutritional children’s portion meals like chilli beef nachos, tagliatelle carbonara, and breaded chicken with a wild mushroom sauce.
The head chef David Gouman is a down to earth hard grafter whose passion for food, perfect palate, and flair for presentation is evident. Compliments also to charming host and proprietor Siobhán Brennan.
I really enjoyed the whole experience at Brennan's Lane and would thoroughly recommend that you do too.
To find out more check out www.brennanslane.ie or for bookings call: 096 74971.