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Tuesday, 17 January 2012

EATING OUT ~ NANCY'S, ARDARA

On Sunday (15th January 2012) we decided to pay a visit to Nancy's of Ardara, mainly because I had this urge to eat some of their super oysters.  We have eaten in Nancy's a couple of times and have always enjoyed it, so returning was very much looked forward to. 

Nancy's Bar on the banks of the River Owentocker, Ardara
 Nancy's is a very old bar in the centre of Ardara, just beside the bridge over the river Owentocker.  Indeed the bar has been in the same family for seven generations now and so is a very well established place.  Inside, it is a warren of various sized rooms where guests can gather.  As with many pubs here the place was once a house and remains to this day very much like a house with rooms that just happen to be part of the bar.

The entrance to Nancy's Bar, Ardara
The bar at the entrance is a tiny, very ancient looking bar with a huge old fashioned fire grate where a warm, welcoming fire greets visitors.  Previously we had been lucky enough to grab the table right beside the fire but on Sunday others had taken it when we arrived so we made our way back to another room at the back of the building. 

One of numerous small rooms in Nancy's Bar
This is a lovely bright room looking out to the back of the property and leading off it there is another cosy room, once again with an open fire and from which a wooden stair case leads you to a mezzanine floor with comfy sofas, tables and chairs.  There is yet another room off the entrance bar but we haven't been in that one yet.  However, you get the idea about the place being a warren of rooms.
Memorabilia everywhere in Nancy's Bar!
The place has the atmosphere and look that only a genuinely old pub can have: stone flag floors, old beams, lots of memorabilia stacked on every free surface,dishes, glasses, photos, pictures ~ every nook and cranny has something to look at. 

The owner himself, Charlie, was serving behind the bar and he is a welcoming host with time to have a chat with all his guests and keep conversations going that seem to bring in all the people around the entrance bar.

Being the winter, the menu is a lot shorter than at other times of the year but we were happy to go with the seafood chowder for himself and half a dozen fresh oysters for me and to drink, two glasses of Guinness.

Hearty seafood chowder
A large bowl of chowder arrived served with two slices of wholemeal scone bread and butter.  As usual, I had a taste of himself's order and can report that the chowder is packed with vegetables and fish and is not at all creamy.  Creamy chowder can be wonderful but sometimes there is too much cream which overpowers it so Nancy's seafood chowder is perfect for those who don't want lots of cream in a dish.  Theirs rely instead on the powerful taste of all the local produce used and works very well.

Fresh oysters ~ a speciality in Nancy's Bar
My six oysters were also accompanied by wholemeal scone bread & butter.  Charlie offered me Tabasco for my oysters but I quickly turned this down as I did the half lemon served with the oysters ~ there is no way I want to change the flavour of fresh oysters.  Why gild the lily?

The beautiful Gweebarra Bay where Nancy's get their oysters
The oysters were excellent and bursting with the taste of ozone.  I just love oysters and order them wherever I get the chance but only in places where I know they are freshly taken in from a nearby river or sea location as is the case in Nancy's.  Their oysters come from an oyster farmer in nearby Kilclooney and he takes them from the clean waters of the Gweebarra Bay which is only a short distance from Ardara.

Our Guinness was excellent, smooth and creamy and expertly poured.

All gone!
Nancy's is one of the members of the Donegal Good Food Taverns who's aim is to use only the best of locally sourced fish, meats, vegetables and so on.  Their use of fresh produce really shows in the foods offered too.  Nancy's offer a choice of six starters ranging in price from €3.30 for garlic bread to €11 for half a dozen oysters.  For mains (or House Specials) the prices range from €7.20 for a veggie burger or a 6 oz steak burger to €13.90 for "Charlie's Supper" which according to the menu is "Prawns and smoked salmon, gently warmed in a sweet chili, garlic and lemon sauce.  With a side salad and brown bread".  They also offer a Ploughman's Lunch which consists of cheese, and locally produced pickles together with brown bread and this is very filling ~ I had it on a previous occasion and it is well worth the €10.50 price.  Their desserts are homemade and include Chocolate Guinness Cake, Apple Pie etc.  The desserts are priced at €5.50 which includes tea or coffee.  For those not wanting tea or coffee, the desserts are €4.40.

THE NITTY GRITTY

Our bill for half a dozen oysters, a large bowl of seafood chowder, brown bread and butter and two half glasses of Guinness came to a very reasonable €21.70

Food served daily during the summer months from 12 noon until 9pm.  Weekends only during the winter.

Wheelchair access and loo: YES

CONTACT: Telephone  074-9541187 email: jenny_mchugh@yahoo.co.uk Twitter: @NancysArdara FACEBOOK PAGE

Distance from Daisy Cottage: 17 km/11 miles

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