Thursday, 10 July 2014

An Port Mór Restaurant, Westport, Co. Mayo

Westport has long been one of my favourite places to get away to in Ireland. It has a happy, relaxed and welcoming buzz at any stage of the year. My last visit to Mayo in June was for a good friend's wedding taking place close by. As I knew we would have one free night to venture out into Westport and due to various good reports and bits and pieces I had read through Good Food Ireland and other sources, I was quite intent upon An Port Mór being our dinner spot. There were absolutely no regrets after what was a fabulous meal in a pretty, serene and unpretentious setting.

You will find An Port Mór tucked down a quaint lane way, through an archway off of the main street, Bridge Street. The setting is warm and welcoming; the staff friendly, helpful and relaxed; but it's the quality of the produce and skillful preparation of the mouthwatering food that makes this place so special! It was no wonder to me when I heard a few weeks ago that Frankie Mallon, head chef, was awarded the title of best chef in Connacht, and the restaurant itself, best restaurant in Connacht, at the recent Irish Restaurant Awards. They are truly deserved winners.

On the evening we dined at An Port Mór, I chose the Donegal turf smoked organic salmon as my starter, the special of monkfish with crab claws as my main, and the dessert platter to share with my friend. The starter was very tasty and I really got a powerful and distinctive peaty smoked flavour, as I'd never experienced before. It was delicious. The fish for main was oh so fresh and succulent and the crab claws were hearty and full of flavour. The buttered leek on the side was yummy too. I was quite full at this point, but when my friend suggested the dessert platter to share, I couldn't say no. This had some lovely elements, particularly the chocolate tart and cake and the ice-cream but generally, I have a thing about dessert platters. That thing is I'd far rather a full portion of one dessert I really love. And yes, I do realise, there was a definite whiff of a greedy sweet tooth off of that last sentence.

We also happily sipped on a super bottle of Malbec from Argentina and finished with a few teas and coffees. We were treated to a few surprise treats on the house, some tasty homemade petits fours and their own limoncello. Our only disappointment came for my poor husband, who heard, to his great dismay, that the crème brûlée had sold out by the time we got to ordering dessert. I spied a portion across at another table and I think it was fair to say his dessert envy was justified. Across the table, the steak and the surf and turf (with scallops as the 'surf') both went down very well. The goats cheese and smoked duck salad starter was very highly received. All in all, it was a fantastic meal. For four people, 3 courses each (bar one dessert shared between 2), 1 bottle of red wine, 1 craft beer and a glass of dessert wine, our bill came to just over €200. Good value in my eyes, for a beautiful meal in relaxed surroundings in one of the most appealing towns to visit in the west. This one comes with a big thumbs up.

Now, some photos to whet your appetite...

Left - Goats cheese and smoked duck; Right - Seafood linguine

Top - Smoked salmon, Centre - Monkfish and crab claws; Bottom - Surf and Turf

Sharing dessert platter
See An Port Mór's website here.
You can (and, in my opinion, should) phone them in Westport on (098) 26730.

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