Saturday, July 23, 2011

Dinner at The Tannery, Dungarvan

After our delicious lunch at O'Brien Chop House in Lismore and checking into our tranquil room at The Tannery Townhouse, it was time to tidy ourselves up and make the epic trek across the road to The Tannery for dinner.  Owned by Paul & Maire Flynn, it's a disused leather warehouse (hence the name) and has been beautifully converted to create a contemporary and spacious restaurant.  The downstairs area is where you find the bar and where there's a bar, there's cocktails served at little round tables and very comfortable seats.  They were so good and so potent, that I've forgotten what they were called!

After a browse through the short but perfectly formed menu, we settled on who was ordering what for dinner.  As I let The Hubs have first choice at lunch, I put my size fives down and demanded the pick of the menu.  My starter choice was pre-determined : it had to be the crab creme brulee with pickled cucumber and melba toast.  The Hubs made a face at this which I took as a good omen i.e. I wouldn't have to share it.  He opted for the caramelised red onion tart with soft Dromana cheese.  Mains kept both of us happy - aged ribeye steak with a wild mushroom duxelle and creamed onions, and smoked Barbary duck with green beans, peaches, bacon & girolles.  In the interest of research, I also ordered the french fries with smoked paprika aioli (more about this later...)

We were led upstairs to the very bright and airy dining room where I had a perfect view of all the activity.  The restaurant was absolutely packed, with early bird diners leaving and being quickly replaced by the 8pm mob.  I was tweeting away merrily, uploading photos of the food and the very lovely local beer when I got a tweet from the brains behind the Dungarvan Brewing Company who were not just having dinner in The Tannery, but were sitting right beside us!  Here's a bottle of their Helvick Gold blonde ale which kept The Hubs happy during his meal...

Soon the crab and the tart showed up and we stopped talking.  Until somebody opposite piped up "do you want to try some of mine".  This isn't him being all nice and sharing.  It just means that he wants some of mine. I happily handed over some of my crab, complete with pickled cucumber on a shard of melba toast and happily accepted some of his red onion tart which reminded me of my favourite Portugese tart, Pasteis do Nata.  The Dromana cheese was soft and delicate which worked really well with the crispy pastry and melting red onion filling.  My crab creme brulee was gorgeous.  I actually would have been happy to eat a main course-sized portion of it with a trough of melba toast and a vat of pickled cucumber.  Sadly this was not to be as every 2 minutes, the offer of more food came from across the table.  In the end, I very politely told The Hubs to sod off and eat his own starter.  Sometimes, you just have to be direct...

Soon after clearing our plates, our main courses arrived.  The Hubs prefers his steak more well done that I do but it was still very tender and full of flavour.  My duck was a great surprise - very smoky and it worked beautifully with the peaches.  This is going to sound dreadful but the highlight of the main course for me were the chips!  These were not just any old chips though, they were ultra crunchy (so much so that I may have speared the roof of my mouth with one - entirely my own fault) and the smoked paprika aioli was incredible.  In fact, I am now demanding the recipe for the pickled cucumbers and the aioli.  Or I'll sue for the traumatic chip-related injury I sustained...


Eventually, we managed to look at the dessert menu and after yet again more negotiation, ordered the Lemon Curd Alaska and the Chocolate Honeycomb Tart. They both looked very impressive and were beautifully plated but I felt that there was something missing from both desserts. My Alaska was very pretty indeed but the meringue covering the lemon curd icecream was too soft and didn't have enough texture, although the almonds in the citrus sauce did give it a much needed crunch. The Hubs' tart was nice although I would have preferred a more bitter chocolate centre to counteract the sweet honeycomb. Again, purely my personal opinion.

And just when we thought we could eat no more, out came a little dish of caramel popcorn with my coffee.  It was truly a Mr. Creosote moment for The Hubs but I still had a tiny bit of room left.  It was the most perfect moreish snack I've had in years. The Tannery should sell this on its own, it's so good....

Oh, did I mention that The Tannery has the poshest wallpaper in the bathrooms ever?  Yes indeed, Vivienne Westwood no less.  Somebody certainly has an eye for the unusual in The Tannery and it adds to the unique charm of the restaurant.  The service is friendly, charming and professional and even though Paul and Maire were away on holiday, you wouldn't have known.  And that is the mark of a great restaurant.


  1. Sounds absolutely gorgeous! Interesting and fair comment on the desserts. Wouldn't like to pry and ask what the final bill was, but if it justified the experience and the food, it was worth it.

  2. I'll tell you straight - €100 per person which included a night at the Townhouse & dinner from the a la carte menu - no special reduced set menu. Drinks were (naturally) extra so all in all, about €250 including wine/beer & service. We've spent a lot more on less before so I really do think it was excellent value for what we got.

  3. Great value, Aoife, with the beautiful accommodation as well. Like you, we have spent more on a whole lot less.

  4. Fabulous place -I live locally and go regularly. The Early Bird is well priced and the menu for it changes daily. Come back for the Waterford Food Festival in April 2012!

  5. Amazing! Myself and Niall had a wonderful meal there a few months back. Looks like you experienced the same loveliness. What a great spot! Really looking forward to going back.

  6. Aoife - if we weren't going to Chez Panisse for my birthday dinner, I'd insist on a Tannery revisit...