Galway was where I spent last weekend. Eating and drinking all around me, watching the rugby and going for drives around the countryside.
We left a very sunny and bright Dublin and headed for the cold and cinereous west, which I must add remains picturesque whatever the weather! With a two hour journey behind us (the new motorway really is an invaluable asset) we ditched our bags and headed for a late lunch at a Galway institution known the world over for truly impeccable seafood – Moran’s Oyster Cottage.
Located along the Weir at Kilcolgan, Moran’s is about a 30 minute car journey from Galway city centre. I’d like to say less, but with Galway traffic any less seems impossible (just preparing you for tractors, sheep and the like) Distance and transportation aside, venturing out to the Weir is totally worth it; who wouldn’t want to eat fantastic seafood in a quaint little cottage surrounded by silence and the fresh air of the countryside?
Moran’s is the ultimate in traditional Irish cottage, complete with thatched roof. It looked very cheery and colourful on this particularly grey Friday, so I can only imagine it lifts many a spirit during warm sunny days. Whether it’s summer or winter, the inside of this charming cottage is what really matters!
We sat at the bar and ordered drinks while browsing the menu. I ordered a bottle of Longueville cider, which became a fast favourite over the weekend. Handmade in County Cork from the orchards of the Blackwater Valley, this dry cider is crisp and bitter. I found it a refreshing change from incredibly sweet Kopparberg and Bulmer’s ciders, and it reminded me very much of the traditional cider from the Basque region of Spain in relation to colour and the natural taste. I’m going to pick some up in Dublin city this weekend as I found a list of stockists which makes me very happy indeed! You should try it, it’s a real delight. I can’t recommend it enough.
Choosing something from the menu wasn’t easy. We all agreed to start with oysters, so that was a no-brainer, but the pages and pages of incredible fish made deciding on the main event all the more difficult. Should I go with the Gravlax? The lobster? The fantail prawns? Crab claws? Traditional fish & chips?I used the process of elimination before I was left with two or three dishes I really found it hard to budge on. I wanted to try my luck and get as many variations of seafood as I could (mainly the shelled kind) so I ordered the seafood special; smoked salmon, crab meat, prawns, crab claws. As soon as I ordered I left the bar to take a walk around the cottage so I couldn’t change my mind, and of course take pictures to give you an idea of the place..
It wasn’t long after we moved from the bar to a table near the fireplace when the oysters arrived. We ordered a dozen raw Edulis oysters and they arrived with baskets of homemade brown bread and real butter. No grilled oysters for us..it’s best this way! I’m a bit of a cheat though, I like mine with lots of lemon juice and a dash of Tabasco. They slid down very nicely (excuse the pun.) I thought of the poem from Alice in Wonderland as we ate them, The Walrus and the Carpenter.
And now the mains! Guinness battered lemon sole (the batter was light and crispy) served with thick chunky chips and Moran’s own tartar sauce. Baked salmon, creamed potatoes, mix vegetables served with a dill and Chablis sauce.
The incredible seafood special, which included the best smoked salmon I have ever tasted in my life! It was the stuff of dreams. The crab claws were delicious, the prawns were delicious alongside the homemade bread and the crab meat was incredibly delicate and I really enjoyed the texture..this particular crab didn’t have the sweet flavour that ones I have tried in the past have had, so I can’t comment on the flavour of the meat, it was simply different but I enjoyed it all the same.
It was my second time to Moran’s and I will definitely be back next time I’m down in Galway. Next time I plan to try their famous seafood chowder, made from a recipe that was passed down through seven generations. That’s some old chowder.
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