EATING OUT: MCGROY'S, CULDAFF
2nd December 2012
Yesterday, on a fairly nippy winter morning we travelled to Glengad, Inishowen to see the start of the ‘Wile Goose Chase’, a locally organised charity event which involved walking 31 geese the 7 km (4.5 miles) from Glengad to Malin town on the first stage of their trip to market in Carndonagh the following day. After speaking to the organisers and taking photographs we decided to skip the walk and take ourselves off for lunch and being so near Culdaff, where else could we possibly go but the famous McGrory’s.
McGrory’s (bar, restaurant, events venue and hotel), which has been in the same family since 1824, is famous not only for its food and hospitality but for the range of musicians they bring to their “Backroom Bar” which includes many famous bands and singers.
However, it being only 1pm obviously there was no live music, only food (and drink, of course, should you be in the mood). We were promptly brought menus as we settled into a very comfortable seat in the warmth of the old fashioned bar.
There is a Bar Food Menu together with the day’s Specials Board which offers an extra 2 or so starters and mains. All their seafood and meat is locally sourced which is always a good thing in my opinion and especially in County Donegal where we have an abundance of the finest seafood easily available and excellent livestock.
I chose my starter and my main from the Specials Board: ‘Warm Duck Salad’ (€6) and ‘Baked Hake with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Pesto Crumb’ (€16 which includes one side order of choice ~ I chose the mashed potatoes). My husband chose from the Bar Food Menu:’ Seafood Chowder with Brown Bread’ (€6.80) and ‘Bacon & Cabbage with Mashed Potato and Creamy Leek Sauce’ (€12).
The starters range in price from €4 - €9 (the €9 is for half a dozen fresh oysters) and the mains range in price from €10.50 - €22 (steak being the most expensive dish).
After ordering from our very pleasant waitress we sat reading the Sunday papers enjoying the warmth inside while able to look out our window on the wintry day outside. After a short wait out starters arrived.
My duck was tender and super tasty and the salad was fresh and crisp. Of course I had to taste my husband’s seafood chowder and we declared “right up there with the best”. The chowder is packed with fish and shellfish AND the mussels were tender and properly cooked.
Our waitress returned to collect completely empty plates and after a short wait our mains arrived.
My husband’s choice of bacon and cabbage turned out to be a very large portion of slices of bacon steaks, lots of perfectly cooked Savoy cabbage, mashed potato and leek sauce. For €12 this is some dish. In fact as it turned out he was unable to finish it: it would have been enough on it’s own without the starter of seafood chowder ~ but in fairness, we were starving when we arrived.
My hake was perfectly cooked and topped with pesto flavoured crumbs and sun dried tomatoes. The mashed potato was creamy and tasty and there was also an accompanying small dressed salad on the plate.
After all this food neither of were able for a dessert but had we been able to we could have chosen from a choice of about five desserts all of which are priced at €4.50.
There is a Childrens’ Menu where all dishes are €5 which, very fairly, includes a jug of juice.
There are good options for vegetarians and gluten free dishes are available together with gluten free bread which is not something you see on many menus.
McGrory's also have a separate restaurant which opens on a Friday and Saturday night during the season but only on a Saturday night off season. I had a quick look at the dinner menu (served 6pm – 9pm) and the starters range from €4.75 - €8.95 and the mains €12.50 - €21.95.
McGory’s is wheelchair friendly (bar etc. on ground floor and a lift to the bedrooms) and has a separate loo for wheelchair access.
The bill for our lunch, including one cappuccino, came to €44.60.
I can guarantee you will not leave McGrory’s either hungry or feeling fleeced: their food delivers and delivers at a very reasonable price too.
McGrory’s TEL: + 353-74-9379104
(Click on any of the photographs below to enlarge).
The 'Made In Donegal' crew on Rathmullan Beach
A group of students from Ohio University in the USA came to Donegal this summer specifically to make a documentary on Donegal and the countys relationship with growing and producing good and sustainable food for our people and for use in our eateriers.
The photograph to the left here shows the crew of 'Made in Donegal' taken on Rathmullan Beach. From the left: Matt Monachino, Amanda Olszewski, Joey Buccini, Sonya Paclob and Kelly Matousek. (Photograph courtesy of Kelly Matousek).
The documentary, Made In Donegal, is an informative and beautifully filmed production and well worth a watch. And of course I agree with their statement: "Donegal should be a destination for visitors to the country as well as for people who are looking for fresh ingredients."
Kelly Matousek, the producer of 'Made In Donegal' gave me the background to how this film came about:
"Through Ohio University in the United States, twenty students were split up into four separate production teams and studied abroad in Co. Donegal, Ireland over the summer of 2012. With past ties to the Regional Cultural Centre in Letterkenny, program director Frederick Lewis organized this program where students would be expected to create a short documentary in six weeks and tell a story about the topic of their choice. Co-director Sam Girton and teaching assistant Annette Drapac were also along for the ride and participated in eight orientation sessions with the students before leaving for Ireland. During these orientation sessions, students were able to meet each other, create friendships and discover who was interested in similar topics.
Made In Donegal is a short documentary film that focuses on the local food culture and economy throughout County Donegal. It focuses on some of the county's local producers, buyers, and local advocates for the rebuilding of a sustainable food model in the county. Ohio University is located in Athens, Ohio and is in a location where local food is growing in importance to the community. The six students, including Sonya Paclob, Amanda Olszewski, Matt Monachino, Kelly Matousek, Joey Buccini, and Alex Bolinger, grew a love for this movement because of its similarities to Athens and truly connected with the cast of the film.
After all of their hard work, the students believe that Donegal should be a destination for visitors to the country as well as for people who are looking for fresh ingredients. From country markets to top class restaurants, Made in Donegal is a film that not only presents facts about County Donegal, but also reveals the massive potential for the county’s future in food. Kelly Matousek, a producer and camera assistant for Made in Donegal, honestly believes that Ireland has some of the most accommodating and passionate people she has ever met. Released three days ago, the film can be found online for anyone to watch and for everyone to share. The students are working on showing this film in various theatres in Donegal as well as the Athens International Film Festival in 2013. Please support the group's production, watch the film at www.facebook.com/MadeinDonegal, and enjoy!"
Click on the link and sit back and enjoy seeing views of beautiful County Donegal together with seeing the produce of Donegal and the people who advocate and support the production of good food and produce available to us all in Donegal.
We Love Donegal
We Love Donegal is a site dedicated to bring the beauty of County Donegal on the north west coast of Ireland to the world.