A growing number of people now see Athlone as a destination for holidays or short breaks and, for many, it would be unthinkable to visit the area or even pass through it without a visit to Annie McNamara and Mary McCullagh’s elegantly informal contemporary restaurant, where architectural salvage materials and interesting, subtle colours combine well with the simplicity of bare tables and paper napkins to suit the lively modern food.
Short, keenly-priced menus - plus specials chalked up on a blackboard - offer a wide range of delicious-sounding dishes with a multi-cultural stamp which, together with carefully sourced ingredients and snappy cooking, make this a top choice for an informal meal in Athlone. Focaccia, big salads and pasta are typical lunch time dishes, and vegetables are colourful and full of zing.
Fresh fish has always had its own separate menu here, and vegetarians can choose between blackboard specials and dishes from the regular menu, including favourites like Left Bank Salad and vegetable spring rolls.
Dinner menus are more extensive and tend to be based on more expensive ingredients, but the style is similar; delicious desserts are high point (anyone for layered ice cream bombe with blackcurrant coulis?), and all home-made - and, of course, there’s a farmhouse cheese plate too.
A concise, well-chosen wine list offers a fair choice of half bottles and several champagnes. For the quality of food and cooking, not to mention the style of the place, a meal here is always good value.
Interestingly, despite the 'grown up' ambience of this terrific restaurant, it is surprisingly family friendly and diners with young children will find staff welcoming and keen to ensure that all age groups enjoy their visit.
*A range of speciality products is sold at the Left Bank: salamis, pestos, house dressing, oils, olives, pastas, and coffee are just a few examples - and breads, dressings, chutneys and desserts from the restaurant too.