Dalgan Restaurant/gastro Bar on the main street in Ballyhaunis, right beside the church, is the newest, hip, funky gastro bar in the county. This totally refurbished building rivals the best in London at the moment, and so does the menu. Beautifully finished, outside and in, the first thing we noticed was the modern bar, as you step inside. The restaurant is warm and inviting, candlelit tables, polished tile and wooden flooring, a nice mix of sofas and chairs with a modern clean blue and white theme.
Enough about the décor, lovely as it is, let’s talk about the food. Head chef Dan has put together an eclectic, modern, menu, with new clever twists on old classics. There is a great variety of hot and cold starters, mains that will blow your mind, and top drawer desserts, something for everyone. Dalgan was named after the local river which flows through Ballyhaunis, and delivers the best local produce around.
My wife Julie and I were invited to sample the new fare last week and it was a culinary treat to remember. Chicken wings are my thing, the hotter the better, and these were lovely. Home cooked wings with a fiery sauce, complemented with a cool ranch dressing on the side. It’s an awesome starter, about 10 chicken wings, all served with a finger-bowl of warm water and lemon - well, wings are meant to be eaten by hand.
Julie opted for the rather unusual sweet corn fritters, and wow, what a treat. Two crisp battered sweetcorn fritters topped with creamy guacamole, garnished with a spiced tomato salsa. The presentation and the crockery were first class, but the textures and tastes of this starter were of the highest level.
Our waitress Chloe was very knowledgeable about all aspects of the menu, and was warm and friendly, nothing was a bother. The restaurant was filling up and I spotted other amazing looking starters going out to tables, like the salt ‘n’ pepper squid, jalapeno and aged cheddar croquettes and duck terrine to name a few. The choice is superb, we will have to go back and try something different.
Now to the main courses, again a large selection of favourites, from fillet and sirloin steaks, to confit duck breast, pan fried salmon, sous vide herb crusted rack of lamb, and many more. I decided to try the Texas style BBQ beef ribs, something that I have never had or cooked before, and I wasn’t disappointed. Two large beef ribs coated in a smokey barbecue sauce with red cabbage slaw, chunky chips and ranch dip, served on a large wooden board was set down before me. The meat was perfectly cooked, succulent and moist, and fell off the bone, the chips, large and crisp and the slaw made me feel that I was back in the Deep South (Florida, not Cork ), delicious food.
Julie went for the chicken and loved her choice. Piped potato puree with wilted spinach, green beans, roasted cherry tomatoes and two portobello mushrooms, sat under a perfectly roasted chicken supreme. This was served with a white wine and mustard cream sauce, which she raved about. Again, beautiful presentation, flavours, and taste.
At this stage, I was totally full, so Julie decided to take one for the team and try a dessert, and I am so glad that she did. Warm cooked to order chocolate pudding, topped with a quenelle of mascarpone, was to die for. The chocolate filling oozed out onto a raspberry brittle and the sweetness of the pudding went well with the sharpness of raspberries. It was an amazing finish to an overall five star meal.
Dalgan is new, and different in a good way. Apart from the fine dining at night there is a lovely lunch menu with salads, sandwiches, burgers, curries, and much more. Live music features at the weekends and there is a classic cocktails bar in full flow. The restaurant seats about 70 and there is also a lovely function room upstairs. This Friday, today actually, May 27, the team are launching their new beer garden and have a wine and canape reception from 7pm, so do try to go along and see what all the fuss is about.
You can book a table by calling (094 ) 9632030, and check out the Facebook page, where you can see the whole menu. Don’t just take my word for it, spend a few hours in Dalgan for a food experience like nothing you have ever had in Mayo before. You will not be disappointed.