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Wednesday, 8 February 2012

EATING OUT ~ BASKINS CAFE, DUNKINEELY

In the village of Dunkineely and only a two minute walk from Daisy Cottage is probably one of the busiest little diner/take-aways in Donegal.  The ever popular Baskins Cafe is a family run business which has been feeding the people of the area together with many of the visitors, for many years now.

Baskins Cafe, Dunkineely

The only day Baskins Cafe is quiet is a Sunday, the only day they close.We drive past there at various times of the day and evening coming and going to Daisy Cottage and every time there are customers, which isn't at all bad, especially in the current economy.

Yesterday we were in Daisy Cottage: my husband doing some work, fixing part of the terrace which had been damaged in recent high winds and me taking lots of photographs of all the equipment and extras we have in the house for our baby and child guests.  One of our friends from the village dropped by for a cup of coffee and as we were chatting we got around to chatting about Baskins ~ which planted the seed in my head for later, fish and chips before we headed back home.

So later, work and photography done, we locked up and walked over to Baskins.  For the first time ever, we were lucky enough to arrive and the place not busy which gave me the perfect opportunity to get a shot of the interior without disturbing other diners.

Baskins
As usual the service was quick and friendly ~ it doesn't matter which member of staff you are served by in Baskins, each one is a friendly as the other.  I ordered one fish and chips, one plate of chips and tea, bread and butter for two.  I love this old fashioned style "tea" now and again.  The reason I ordered just one fish and chips and one plate of chips is that the portions are so large that you get two large bits of fish per portion so we shared that. 

The fish they serve is fresh, real fish, none of that frozen pre-prepared stuff here.  Yesterday the fish was haddock but it varies with what is available any day.  And the chips, as you might expect with fresh fish, are real potatoes cup and fried by Baskins in Baskins.  Their fish and chips is obviously one of the reasons the place is so busy.

However, they have another secret weapon I hear spoken of ~ their chicken kebab.  Now neither of us eat kebabs but now and then in pubs in the village you will hear people talking about Baskins chicken kebabs.  I overheard a conversation one night between a group of lads and smiled when I heard one of them, talking about some take-away he had gone into on holiday somewhere.  He said "their chicken kebab was bigger than Baskins!".  Now were I a script writer, at this juncture I would have had the entire bar fall into stunned silence.  I'm not, and it didn't but the guys in the conversation all expressed surprise at this news.  A bigger chicken kebab than Baskins ... somewhere!  Mind you, it is not only locals who speak highly of Baskins.  Sarah Jessica Parker and her husband Matthew Broderick have a holiday home a few miles away and SJP apparently called Baskins the best fish and chip shop in Ireland.   

I notice too in our guest book in Daisy Cottage, Baskins often gets a mention.  Here's a couple of examples: "Pubs in town were great and fish and chips from Baskins were yummy." and: "Macs Bar is an unreal wee pub and Baskins Cafe is so nice, the food is amazing."

Before our food arrived, people started arriving in and by the time it arrived, the place was filling up nicely.  As usual there was a run of people calling to collect pre-ordered food ~ Baskins let you ring in your order which is then ready for collection when you call.

Baskins perfect fish and chips!
Our food arrived and we tucked in.  As usual the batter was crispy and perfect and inside perfectly cooked haddock, steaming hot and super tasty.  For me lashings of vinegar enhanced the already great chips and like two hungry hounds, we polished off the lot, me showing super table manners by mopping up some vinegar left on my plate with a triangle of bread and butter.  The perfect, old fashioned "tea".

DETAILS

For one fish and chips, one plate of chips and tea, bread and butter for two we paid €14.70

Together with fish and chips they also serve burgers (from €2 for a "regular bun burger" to €5.80 for a "double quarter pounder with cheese and bacon", chicken kiev (€3.70).  There are various other chicken dishes too.  There are a choice of "Specials" which includes "Steak Special" (peppered steak served with sauteed onions and peas €9.50), scampi (€4.20), steak and kidney pie (€2.20) and their kebabs (doner or chicken) are €4.70. 

They also do an all day breakfast type dish called a "Fry Special" which consists of 2 slices of bacon, 2 sausages, 2 eggs, sauteed onions, beans and chips and this comes in at €6.90.  I have seen this served on earlier visits and it is HUGE.  We have had the smaller breakfast (without the onions, chips and beans and the extra egg) and it is still plenty, believe me!

OPENING HOURS: Monday ~ Saturday 12 noon until 11.30 pm

CONTACT
Baskins Cafe, Main Street, Dunkineely  TEL: +353-749737340

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