Horkan’s Lifestyle and Garden Centre, a few hundred metres along the road from the wonderful Museum of Country Life in Turlough, Castlebar, is a garden centre with a difference, one where you could spend many happy hours.
Having browsed to your heart’s content in the garden centre and the homeware section, you can look forward to visiting the Bay Tree, a delightful bakery and restaurant serving good food.
Plants and shrubs are in abundance here, adding to the general uplifting feel. Large windows to one side overlook an outdoor seating area and the garden; bright, airy and spacious, and with tables covered in cheerful blue-spotted oilcloths, this is a pleasing space.
The menu, written on blackboards hanging on a fuchsia-painted wall behind the serving area, is fairly extensive, with breakfast fare leading on to the all-day menu; available from midday it offers dishes like gourmet pizza, fresh haddock in spicy lemon butter and the Bay Leaf steak burger, while daily specials might include chicken korma, turkey and ham or haddock.
Some local and artisan foods feature and the cooking is good - organic Ardsallagh goat’s cheese in puff pastry pillows, for example, is a prettily presented dish; served with red onion marmalade and basil pesto and salad it makes a light and delicious lunch, leaving room for one of the eye-catching desserts. Lemon meringue pie, perhaps made as it should be – marshmallowy meringue contrasting delightfully with the tartness of the lemon. Other appealing choices include apple pie, seasonal crumble and strawberry cheesecake.
Vegetarians are well catered for, with vegetarian parsnip and cheese roulade, a tuna and sweetcorn panini or perhaps one of the daily specials. Quarter bottles of wine are available as well as a range of cold drinks, teas and coffees.
A useful place to know about for lunch or a snack, whether shopping or not.