Diners can opt for a ‘simplicity’ menu and select from the three options given for each course or choose the 6-course tasting menu. Although brief, the menu features many unusual ingredients along the way. As seems to be the fashion these days, dishes are described by means of a roll-call of the ingredients, which in real terms doesn’t overly enlighten the diner about what they will eat, but certainly does retain an element of surprise which is only revealed when the dish arrives.
|Goat's Cheese Cones|
With an open, on-view kitchen you can freely observe Head Chef Enda McEvoy as he works. I was transfixed watching my meal being prepared and was struck by the Zen-like air of focused calm which prevailed in the minimalist kitchen.
Next up was Monkfish
Liver, Onions, Lion’s Mane Mushrooms. Here the fish liver had been combined
with cream to create a fine textured ‘sausage’. Sitting in a small pool of
squid-ink broth and accompanied by some bittersweet caramelised onions and
almost alien-looking lion’s mane mushrooms, this was a delicate dish,
sensitively cooked. The mushrooms in particular were a revelation, possessing a
slightly chewy texture und an underlying subtle seafood taste that worked so
well with the other elements of the dish.
Susan, my guest for the evening has a fish allergy so couldn’t eat the monkfish but this did not present a problem. Duck Hearts, Little Gem, Sheep’s Milk arrived in its place without any fuss. I have only eaten duck hearts on one previous occasion and wasn’t particularly enamoured with them but here they dazzled jewel-like on the plate and looked so inviting that I felt compelled to try them and I was delighted that I did because they were outstanding. Accompanied by charred little gem lettuce, lovage sauce and a sheep’s milk froth, this was another perfectly balanced, top-notch dish.
Duck, Chicory & Beet was the next course to arrive and in many ways was the simplest of the evening. The accompanying beetroot provided a gentle sweetness as did the duck and apple jus whilst the slight bitterness of the braised white chicory cut through the overall richness of the dish. For me, the extreme bitterness of the red chicory leaves was a little too much but the perfectly cooked duck breast made up for this and I enjoyed the dish.
I certainly wasn’t expecting to see ice-cream when Sheep’s Milk Yoghurt & Strawberry arrived. Not that this was regular ice-cream but rather, a frozen confection made from sheep’s milk yoghurt and squid ink! Although the dark grey colour was unsettling to look at, I liked its unique taste, particularly when eaten with the strawberry meringue, strawberry gel and dehydrated white chocolate crumb which came with it. This was a great finish to the meal.
Of all the restaurants I have eaten in over the past two years, Loam has lingered longest in my thoughts after the meal was finished and I want to do it justice. Reviewing restaurants is subjective and often difficult. No words can fully express nor do photographs truly depict the experience of eating a meal for yourself. Reviews document the food in a very two-dimensional way and at best merely whet the appetites of readers and potential diners.
|Sheep's Milk Yoghurt, Strawberry|
Items on the ‘Simplicity’ menu are individually priced with starters and desserts around €10 and main courses €30. The 6 –course tasting menu which must be ordered by the entire table costs €60 or €90 with wine-pairings.
Geata na Cathrach
This article first appeared in TheTaste.ie