A weekend in Galway’s Twelve Hotel is the ultimate way to unwind, but the trip home is always permeated with gloom. I am always happy to extend the trip by just a couple of hours and stopping for lunch is the perfect excuse.
The picturesque village of Glasson, near Athlone in Co. Westmeath is the perfect spot to stop for a light lunch, especially when the car is groaning and begging for a break from the open road. Unfortunately a light lunch wasn’t to be. The menu at The Fatted Calf soon put paid to that. Strangely enough, eating out regularly can have a somewhat negative impact on my waistline, and so starters have been relegated to the back bench these days. But I just couldn’t do it. There was too much temptation. I consider myself lucky that I managed to escape without having dessert.
Decisions made, I kicked off with Steamed Lissadell Bay Mussels with a Coriander and Lemongrass cream and they were good, good, good. No. 2 went for a starter of Scallops with Pulled Pork which were presented so beautifully that a local seated next to us had to lean across to enquire what the dish was. That’s the vibe at The Fatted Calf, friendly locals who amuse themselves by watching the outsiders gorge on the outstanding food (at least that’s how I felt!).
Mains consisted of the usual pub lunch fare, including fish & chips, homemade burgers and hot roast sandwiches served in a toasted Waterford Blaa. All tempting in themselves. Simple dishes need little fanfare when top-notch ingredients are used, as is the case in The Fatted Calf. I opted for Buttermilk Fried Spiced Chicken with Wild Rocket and Tarragon Aioli, which was served with triple fried chips (yum). The dish was simple but superb and a very generous portion – although I did manage to polish most of it off. No. 2 chose the Donald Russell 28 day dry aged Rib Eye which was served with chunky dripping chips and greens.
It was all exceptional and well worth the detour off the M6. In fact, I’m fairly sure that The Fatted Calf is sure to become a foodie destination in itself. With an experienced team like Feargal and Fiona O’Donnell at the helm (Feargal is ex Wineport Lodge), it’s no surprise. You would be crazy not too.