Formerly The Forge - a landmark dining destination Collon for many years - the characterful premises was given a stylish face lift and opened in 2016 as No. 3 Old Bar & Restaurant by mother-and-son team Martina and Wayne Fitzpatrick, who will give you a warm welcome.
The ground floor is now a snazzy small bar with white metro tiles, a few cosy tables and a walled-off snug with a booth in the middle of the room that’s ideal for a big group. The main seating is upstairs, which has been transformed by atmospheric slate grey paint - and Martina and Wayne are following The Forge’s long history of exhibiting art, which is once again an especially attractive feature of the restaurant.
For lunch, you might find such offerings as a spicy lentil and carrot soup with the house brown bread, a Cajun marinated breast of chicken with smoked applewood cheese and chipotle aioli, prawn and chorizo linguine with red pesto ciabatta, or a sloppy Joe of pulled pork with apple and cabbage slaw, crispy onions and a homemade bap. The lunch portions are hearty, so bring a big appetite.
All tastes are catered for here, which means that the dinner menu could feature dishes such as a slow-braised pork belly with creamy chorizo and potato mash, pan-seared hake on a bed of lavender and lemongrass risotto with a smoked paprika sauce, steak with crispy tobacco onions and hand-cut chips or a pumpkin and black bean burger with kataifi pastry for vegetarians. But before that, for starters, don’t miss the honey and bourbon chicken wings, which are a house specialty.
For dessert, you could choose from a selection of the homemade ice cream or maybe a tiramisu, but the lemon, lime and avocado mousse tart is definitely worth a try. It’s so zingy, creamy and luscious that you’d never guess it’s actually a vegan recipe.
An early bird menu is served all evening on Wednesdays and Thursdays and until 7pm on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and is great value at two courses for €21.95 or three courses for €25.50. A separate children’s menu is available too.
No. 3 had big shoes to fill, following on in the site where the area's leading restaurant had been for so long, but - although regular fans might sometimes wish for a casual and inexpensive option for that quick bite - it has proved a hit with the locals, who love the atmosphere, the food and the friendly staff and wish Martina and Wayne success for many years to come.