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Wednesday, 14 September 2011

EATING OUT ~ THE VILLAGE TAVERN, MOUNTCHARLES

This is another of our favourite restaurants in the area and the chef there makes THE best lamb shanks in the whole of Ireland.

The Village Tavern, Mountcharles
Situated in the middle of the pretty village of Mountcharles, The Village Tavern is popular with locals and visitors alike and it is not hard to see why once you have eaten there once.  We go there regularly as the chef/owner Enda O'Rourke is a passionate not only about his cooking but also his food sourcing, only using locally produce wherever possible.  He grows his own herbs and makes his own bread too and all the food offered in made in his kitchen at The Village Tavern.

The dining room of The Village Tavern
Enda, along with Hugh O'Donnell of 22 Main Street, Killybegs, is one of the founding members of the Donegal Good Food Taverns.  Enda was head chef in the famous Rolys in Ballsbridge, Dublin for around nine years so now we in Donegal can enjoy his skills for a fraction of the prices charged in Rolys.

The Village Tavern is at the front a bar and at the end of the bar you go down a couple of steps into the restaurant which is cosy and comfortable and on fine days or evenings you can sit outside on their covered decking for a drink or to eat.  Alternatively you can also eat in the bar.

Lamb shank and creamy mash at The Village Tavern, Mountcharles
On our recent village there I just had to go for the lamb shank again.  I do vary my choice but every now and then I must have the lamb shank.  The meat is beyond tender and literally just falls off the bone, the sauce served with it is excellent and the creamy mash accompanying it is some of the best mash ever.  For other meat eaters, I can also highly recommend the steak there.  On a previous visit I had the steak which arrives with homemade chips, onions etc. although I chose to have it with a perfectly dressed side salad.  The steak was perfectly seasoned and cooked exactly as I requested.

Monkfish and Prawn with Garlic Butter and Topped with Mozzarella
So this time for me it was the lamb shank for me with a starter of monkfish and prawn in garlic butter and topped with mozzarella cheese melted over it.  This is the first time I have tried this dish here and it is delicious with lots of garlic, chunks of perfectly cooked monkfish and lots of prawns.  I will definitely be ordering this again.

Bacon and Potato Soup with Homemade Brown Bread
For his starter my husband chose the bacon and potato soup which arrived with a couple of rounds of homemade brown bread and a couple of pats of butter.  I tasted it, or course, and it was thick and packed with flavour.

The Seafood Platter in The Village Tavern, Mountcharles
For his main, my husband chose the seafood platter which consists of number of different fish and shelf-fish cooked in different ways and with different sauces and a tiny bowl of seafood chowder.  This plate is offered as a starter or a main course and we first had it a few months back when a fellow diner recommended we order it so good was it.  We did and she was right ~ it IS very good.

As with all the restaurants and cafes I recommend, the service here is excellent.  Really pleasant, helpful staff who are friendly without being at all intrusive.  It is so easy to be pleasant and restaurants would do well to realise this and make every effort to employ and train staff to who actually care about their work and their restaurant.

Chocolate and Orange Cheesecake
So after enjoying our starters and main courses, I forced my husband to order a dessert.  I wanted a photograph of one of their desserts for this blog post but he was quite full after the hearty soup and seafood platter but eventually I got my way and he chose the chocolate and orange cheesecake.  I had a little of it and it was creamy and did what it said on the menu ~ tasted of orange and chocolate.

An americano at The Village Tavern
I finished with a very nice americano which had a lovely crema on top.  Their cappuccino too is very good.


The view from the pier, Mountcharles

For less lazy people, one of the other good things about dining in The Village Tavern is that you can take a stroll down the street and a walk along the shoreline of the bay along to the pier there.  Alternatively you could do what we often do and drive down to the pier and get out of the car and enjoy a bit of fresh sea air, perhaps sitting a while on the seats on the pier enjoying the perfect views of the bay and across to the distinctive Sligo mountain, Benbulben.

THE NITTY GRITTY

Summer Opening: (details to follow)

Winter Opening: (details to follow)

We paid: (details to follow)

Disabled Friendly: There bar is ground level and then there are two or three steps down into the restaurant area but you can dine in the bar.

Child Friendly: Yes, child portions and baby chairs available.

Contact: Tel: +353 (0)74 9735622   E-mail: villagetavern@live.ie

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