In the pretty village of Termonfeckin, Pat Fox’s long-established restaurant, is in a 200-year-old converted farmhous set in landscaped gardens surrounded by mature trees.
The rather neglected exterior is off-putting and the décor is overdue a makeover, but the food here is produced from a kitchen that knows what it is doing – and you can settle in front of a log fire in the reception area on cold evenings with the menu and a glass of wine (there’s also a conservatory, for use in summer).
Pat’s menus are based on the best of local produce, with daily blackboard seafood extras from nearby Clogherhead including fresh Clogherhead prawns, Annagassan crab, and a dish intriguingly entitled Port Oriel Pot-Pourri. Locally-reared meats feature too, in roast Drogheda smoked loin of pork with a nectarine & Calvados sauce, for example.
Good starters may include spinach-filled crêpes (baked with cream sauce, tomato sauce and Parmesan), delicious and sweetly cured gravadlax, and delicate tomato and cream tortellini. Main courses tend to be less successful, although haddock with herb butter was a highlight on a recent visit - fresh and crisply crumbed, and served with excellent garlic potatoes.
Not for the first time desserts, like the starters, redeemed the meal on this occasion – the house speciality, a chewy meringue dacquoise that varies with the season’s fruits, never fails to please and ice creams are also very good. Plated farmhouse cheeses are also offered, typically including Cashel Blue, Cooleeney and Wexford Cheddar.
This is very much a neighbourhood restaurant, giving a feeling that all the guests know each other – and the wine list reflects Pat’s particular interests (wine evenings are held in winter).