'Just Ask!' Restaurant of the Month for July - The Foyle Hotel, Moville, Co. Donegal

Well known throughout Ireland as a TV chef and teacher with a great commitment to promoting the superb produce of his native Donegal and the North-West of Ireland, Brian McDermott and his wife Brenda - who also has a background in hospitality - recently restored the historic Foyle Hotel in the handsome town of Moville on the shores of Lough Foyle, to create a boutique hotel, wine bar and informal dining destination.

Carefully tailored to please a mixed clientèle, who all enjoy the comfort, relaxed ambience and the promise of good food with a distinct sense of local heritage, The Foyle Hotel by Chef Brian Mc Dermott quickly became a favourite with locals and visitors to this beautiful area - many making it their first port of call at the northern end of the Wild Atlantic Way.

Very much a family enterprise - the McDermotts’ daughters, Niamh and Aoife also help in the summer holidays - and backed up by a great kitchen team including the brilliant Derek Creagh as Head Chef, the whole set up is very friendly and customer-focused, to appeal to all ages and convey that special Donegal welcome. Good food is, of course, the main attraction and, as well as more sophisticated evening dishes, menus include plenty of crowd pleasers like Caesar salad, burgers, steaks and fish & chips. But the difference is in the quality and local provenance of ingredients which, as Brian's followers (and anyone who has his cookery books) will know, are cooked simply and carefully to allow the true 'Taste of Inishowen' to be enjoyed with specially selected wines and local drinks, including Brian’s own craft beer.

"In too many hotels, food is an afterthought," says Brian. "Here, food is at the centre of everything we do. Irish meats and poultry come from trusted suppliers including William Doherty Butcher and Noone’s Poultry, both at Clonmany; Doherty Roe Vegetables and Whiteoaks Acorn Organic Farm near Muff supply fresh produce, while free range eggs are from Seamus McHugh - and excellent breads and baked good are supplied by the historic Daniel Doherty Bakery in Moville and Scarpello & Co Artisan Breads of Rathmullan."

All of the seafood used at the hotel is locally landed and the main suppliers are John Byrne Seafoods Malin and, of course, Greencastle Fisherman’s Co-op at nearby Greencastle harbour.

And, not only is there a generous sprinkling of name checked suppliers of all produce on menus and the website, but Brian lists the names of the local fishing boats that he buys from, and their skippers, on a prominently placed Pier to Plate blackboard, ‘Our Fishing Community’ - what a great idea.

This sense of place is also the driving philosophy of the cookery weekends that are hosted by Brian - and all this, plus a keen focus on customer service, make a visit to The Foyle Hotel by Chef Brian McDermott yet another seriously good reason to head for Donegal.

Sample menu can be found here.

Supplier list can be found here.

Foyle Hotel, Malin Street, Gort North, Moville, Co. Donegal
074 93 85280; info@foylehotel.ie; www.foylehotel.ie

*The eatery is open for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner, with the wine bar open from 4.30pm daily.


“Just Ask!” is a public awareness campaign that aims to encourage consumers when eating out to look for information on where the food (particularly meat) on their plate comes from, and encourages chefs to provide this information on their menus. The programme supports both large and smaller artisan suppliers, encouraging both Irish diners and visitors from abroad to support restaurants that are in turn supporting their suppliers.

Here at Georgina Campbell Guides we have always been avid supporters of the ‘eat local’ concept, and we enjoy reading menus that have a real sense of place. The dining experience is greatly enriched by knowing that the food on your plate is inspired by the produce and traditions of the area, and sourced nearby – and we would love to see more chefs sharing that precious information with their guests. If you are a visitor to the area, learning a little about local food and the people who produce it adds a special extra dimension to the visit – and, for residents, it reinforces a natural pride in the good things of their locality and makes a meal all the more enjoyable.

So, we are delighted by the high standard of menus that continue to be submitted for our ‘ “Just Ask!” Restaurant of the Month Competition’, menus that really speak of the best of Irish foods – and the dedication of both the people who make them, and the chefs who select them to create wonderful dishes with real Irish flavour for our enjoyment.


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