In the centre of Drogheda town, Sonia Micalef and Damien Leddy’s relaxed basement restaurant has shaken things up lately. Gone is the wine bar and the Italian menu – they call themselves a bistro now and the offering is much more eclectic. But some things have stayed the same, like the obliging, good-humoured staff, who ease customers into the relaxed way that things are done here.
With its charmingly mismatched light fixtures, it’s cosy despite being deceptively large and there’s a funky outdoor area at the back too. Tables are nicely set with placemats, a carafe of flowers and proper salt and pepper grinders, which makes the table feel welcoming as soon as you sit down.
The new menu seems to want to offer something for everyone, and from everywhere. Dishes still include a few old Italian favourites, but otherwise range from a beef bourguignon pie, tartiflette, moussaka, hake in tempura batter and a chimichanga on the main menu to lamb koftas, Italian meatballs and patatas bravas on the separate tapas menu. There is an impressive number of gluten-free dishes, including gluten-free pizzas.
The separate tapas menu is going down a treat with customers. There's a special offer of three tapas for €10.95, or you could add a glass of wine for €13.95 before 6pm, which is a steal. But it's the wood-fired pizzas that are the real star, and they're arguably the best in town. You can start with a €9.95 margherita and mix and match from there, with three toppings offered at €12.95 and additional toppings after that priced at 80c each.
The wine list is interesting, informative, well-priced and includes some surprises – and offers a good choice by the glass too, kept fresh by the ‘Le Verre de Vin’ system. They pride themselves on sourcing wines from small family-owned vineyards, and you can read all about them in the short bios of all the winemakers featured at the back of the wine menu, which is a nice touch. Or try one of the locally made Jack Cody beers, available in bottles.
To finish, choose from the likes of a salted caramel sundae, a gluten-free French chocolate cake, apple tarte tatin or a baked raspberry cheesecake for dessert and coffee from Ariosa roasters in Meath.