Occasionally I get invited to things and I’m always very grateful when I am. Being invited to try the 8 course tasting menu at Eala Bhan Restaurant, was up there with one of the best food experiences I’ve ever had.
Eala Bhan means white swan in Irish, very apt considering the restaurant is located overlooking the Garavogue River where the swans glide by. I could tell you all about the Yeats quotes and tasteful decor in the restaurant but I’m going to go straight for the food.
8 Courses! I’ve never had an 8 course meal in my life! It’s called a delicate tasting menu and it’s a fantastic way to try something that you may not have tried before. This menu takes fine dining to the next level and with the fantastic service and quality, locally sourced food, you are in for a treat.
Course 1 was ‘Taste of the Land and the Sea.’ A 12 hour slow cooked pork belly, kataifi prawn, garlic spinach puree and bacon dust. This was delicious – ah sure what am I on about, the whole meal was delicious!
Course 2 was ‘Eala Bhan Duck Duo.’ A smoked duck breast, homemade pate, flavoured toast and Cashel blue ice cream. Yes you read it right, a cheese ice cream! A perfect combination of hot and cold foods.
Course 3 was ‘Cheese Tasting Plate’. Honey, garlic and thyme goats cheese, carpaccio beetroot, cracked black pepper cheese fritter, apricot and almond soft cheese, chilli lemongrass and tomato chutney. This was gorgeous, I could have eaten a mountain of the cheese fritters, in fact I’m hungry again typing this.
Course 4 was ‘Sorbet’. This was a champagne sorbet served in an egg shell! I had to do a double-take on this one when the egg arrived served on a bed of straw! What a really clever idea though and the perfect way to cleanse the palate for the next four courses.
Course 5 was ‘Reefed Medallions of Beef’. Melt in the mouth beef with lemon buttered scallop, served with pomme puree and bacon foam. This was a big course but absolutely gorgeous. I don’t think I’ve ever had a scallop before but it was delicious. I loved the flavour of the beef, it had a kind of peppery taste, it was so lovely.
I was starting to struggle at this stage and kicking myself for not wearing elasticated trousers. I was also starting to panic that the button of my jeans might fly off and hit someone, it wouldn’t be the first time! Now back to the food.
Course 6 was ‘Market Fresh Catch of the Day’. This varies from day to day and how the staff remember the descriptions I’ll never know. I was told but promptly forgot so in my words it was salmon, pan fried plaice, a baked oyster, served with roasted pepper risotto and asparagus. I particularly liked the plaice and the risotto, the perfect combination.
Course 7 was ‘Chocolate Surprise’. Oh my! Talk about heaven! I was presented with a dark chocolate dome, the waitress poured melted chocolate over the top and fruit, cream, brownie and marshmallows were revealed. Probably my favourite course of them all but I’m a chocolate fan. Now I really am hungry writing this!
Course 8 was ‘a selection of petit fours’. Again this will chance depending on the season, products, etc. I had a tiny orange macaron, a delicate berry cheesecake and a trifle. All beautiful.
This sumptuous menu was especially designed by food champion and proprietor of Eala Bhan Anthony Gray and head chef Marcin Szczodrowski, these guys know what works and what doesn’t. If you are in Sligo or visiting on holiday you have to eat in Eala Bhan, you won’t be disappointed.
Thank you so much to Anthony for inviting me along to try this amazing menu. The 8 course delicate tasting menu costs €69 per person, I’d say it’s worth every cent. Leave around two hours to enjoy this, and wear loose clothing!