. Restaurants .

Posted: Saturday, June 25, 2011 at 9:11 PM
Location: Coppinger Row, Coppinger Row
Dining companions: My buddy

I’ve been so busy attending a fabulous wedding in Mayo and having my first mini tour of the West Coast of Ireland that I never got around to divulging the whereabouts of my recent Saturday lunch in town.  I’m still very much trying to make the most of each dining opportunity I have, so on that particular day I carefully selected Coppinger Row for a bite to eat.

The Saturday in question was a beautiful sunny day, and my first thought was that it was such a shame that there were no outside tables available for us.  Although, knowing that I get chilly with the slightest of breeze, in hindsight that was probably no bad thing.  In we went and settled ourselves into a small two person table running along the side wall of the restaurant.  First impressions were good - the restaurant has a really comfortable atmosphere despite having quite a large open area.

A peek at the menu and a €10, 2 course ‘Menu Del Dia’ caught my eye - sadly that’s only available Monday – Thursday, boo.  I wouldn’t call the menu extensive, but I don’t mind that – I’d much rather they did ten things really well than 50 things averagely.  Overall there was a selection of just three items which could be ordered in starter size (costing around €6/7) of which the garlic and chilli prawns would have had my vote but as this wasn’t to be a lengthy lunch starters weren’t on our radar this particular day.   One main really caught my eye – a braised squid and octopus stew with chorizo – hello!  Aside from the stew there were, amongst others, a yummy sounding open meatball sandwich and a tempting sounding sirloin on flatbread with hummus.  Mains ranged from €11-13 which I thought seemed reasonable enough.

I am currently trying to be a little bit healthy – a constant torment to me, and had wondered can I really review a restaurant when taking the healthy option?!  Absolutely, I’ve decided, especially when you have a pal with you who’s happy to order anything.  Ultimately we chose a black pudding and fig salad with rocket and blue cheese for him and a plate of dressed crab and crayfish with basil and lemon for me.
We both tucked into lunch hungrily when it arrived, especially me – with two hours shopping under my belt I was ravenous!  Thank goodness both dishes were delicious – the black pudding was crisp and peppery and was complemented well by the fig, although maybe they were running out of blue cheese as there were only a few meagre crumbs scattered on the plate.  The crab and crayfish was zingy and fresh, served with a small(!) rocket salad and three skinny toasts. 

OK – so top marks for the flavours, but my big issue is that there just wasn’t enough food!  I would say both portions were much smaller than you would expect, especially at the price.  What was more annoying was that I had enquired about ordering a side and had been advised I wouldn’t need one.  You know, the portion may suit some dainty ladies who lunch and indeed a lady next to me seemed happy enough with her crab, but me, I was left wanting more more more.

So what about the other aspects of the visit?   I’m afraid the only thing that really sticks in my mind was just how disappointing the service was.  It took two requests to get a jug of water, two requests for bread – and when it arrived the butter dish was empty, so ultimately three requests to get bread! Really (sigh). It did amuse me however, when during lunch I glanced up and spotted two of the wait staff quite obviously having heated ‘words’ at the bar – hopefully berating each other for their mutually terrible customer service!

Anyway, as we were left rather wanting more, my buddy ordered dessert.  I tasted a corner, all in the name of research of course.  It was an uber rich and tasty brownie covered in a delicious chocolate sauce – needless to say, after that he was no longer complaining about the small lunch portion.
So, the big question – would I go back? Yes, probably.  Although if it was lunch – I’d try and get in on the Menu Del Dia action to make sure I got some decent value for my euro and I’d just have to keep my fingers crossed that the service issue was a one off.