Passing through tall wrought iron gates on the hilly street which looks down over the bridge between Killaloe and Ballina, you walk into a leafy bower set up with picnic tables, and then on into a delightfully appealing old-fashioned café interior.
Formerly the characterful premises of Crotty’s pub, owner Laura Kilkenny wisely made no unnecessary changes when she opened her café, bakery & deli here in 2009. You still get the sense of the old bar – complete with a welcome fire down at the far end – but now the bar tops are piled high with freshly baked scones and cakes and every kind of temptation you could think of, notably a huge bowl of meringues...
A short menu offers tempting savoury dishes too, so you can have a really tasty and (perhaps surprisingly) healthy, meal here. A gorgeous big bowl of homemade soup with predictably delicious freshly baked brown soda bread is perfect for a chilly day, for example, or perhaps a generous, richly flavoured beef and Guinness stew.
In warmer weather the tone will change to dishes with Mediterranean flavours, but you can expect the same principles of quality to apply - local seasonal ingredients and good simple cooking, served with a generous dash of real hospitality.
A gem of a place and deservedly popular.