Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Pantry and Corkscrew, Westport, Co Mayo

Recently opened - circa two months ago - this narrow little gem sits just off the square in Westport, Co Mayo. We walked in off the street. Frankly, it just looked inviting, and the menu made all the right sounds. I ordered up a pork sausage casoulet, with apple and cider, topped with a thin strip of potato rosti, in place of that typical crucnhy bean topping so beloved by the French.

Absent from the dish were the beans, but the broth was delicately and sweetly flavoured with the owners own cider, a complex, earthy, sweet and layered taste. The sausages were from Newport, Kellys butchers, who have just won a prize from the Black Pudding Confraternity of Good Food Lovers in France - they took bronze for their black pudding.

The sausages were meaty, with that texture you get from low meal/crumb content, and quite subtly flavoured. An almost perfect match for the broth and cider. One quibble. The sausages were a little undersalted. And casoulet needs beans.

At 8.95, an absolute steal of a meal, and the best by a country mile that I had all holiday.

The Gorgeous C had a cheese salad - can't remember the cheese, but it was tangy and mature, salty, sweet, a fantastic product, with thinly cut slices of ripe fig, dressing and chutney, all of which married perfectly. Care had obviously been taken in designing the dish.

The chips were good, fluffly, hand cut, well cooked, but the homemade ketchup was marvellous. Notes of cinammon, coriander, and, frankly, I don't know what else. Superb.( though, again, in need of a little salt).

Frankly, a damned fine dining experience. Considering the place has been open only two months, when the menu is fine tuned, it's going to be great. Right now, with locally sourced and made ingredients, an artisan slant, good pricing, and thoughtful cooking, it's acomplished. It's a little jewel, well on it's way to being polished.

The Pantry and Corkscrew, Peter st, near the Octagon and Wyatts Hotel, Wesport, Co Mayo, tel: 09826977

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