If you find yourself in the area of New Ross, Sqigl is well worth a detour for it's great seafood.
Inside it's simply decorated, plain tables and chairs and some banquettes around the sides where we took a corner table. The table was laid with some good glassware and cutlery and we were immediately served with a tray of bread and a jug of iced water along with the menus. Why more restaurants can't perform this simple feat of making you instantly at home on arrival defeats me. It's so simple to do and it puts weary travellers into an instant good mood.
While Susie studied her menu I busied myself with the wine list. It's not a long list, but it's fairly priced and it listed a few decent wines. I'd almost settled on a Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc when I found the last page of the list, which had a the special offers. A bottle of Bichot Chablis for 25 was irresistible, if perhaps a little wasteful since between us we hardly managed to drink half of it.
By the time I'd chosen the wine Susie had decided to have two starters: she began with the salmon gravadlax and then picked the seafood risotto to have next. I decided on a fishy meal as well, so I started with the marinated prawns and then chose the scallops, which was one of the day's specials.
The starters were very nicely presented, Susie's gravadlax was served on a bed of perfectly dressed spicy rocket and came with an orange dressing. I liked the taste of all of the elements and thought they were well chosen for their combination. My Wexford prawns were firm and well cooked, but what made them stand out for me was the subtlety of the flavouring. They weren't overpowered by the garlic marinade but enhanced by it and the warm asparagus tips with a saffron flavoured aioli was a happy addition to the dish.
When she saw the size of the starter portion of seafood risotto Susie knew she's made the right decision on choosing two starters - it could almost have been a main course. Apart from its generous size, it was stuffed full of seafood. In fact, each forkful almost contained more seafood than rice - a mix of prawns, salmon, squid and mussels. My scallops came surrounding a bed of mash and a flat of simply prepared vegetables were on the table for us to share. Again, both of these dishes hit the mark; they were well made, well presented and carefully flavoured, which when you think about it is everything you want from a plateful of food.
The dessert menu came next and we had a choice of sticky toffee pudding, a chocolate and hazel tart, an ice-cream filled crepe or a choice of ice-creams, but despite the temptation we were too well fed to eat any more. I was going to go for my usual espresso, but when Susie asked what teas were available a box arrived at the table with a large choice of fancy tisanes. Susie picked the kumquat tea and I was less adventurous and chose the mint tea, so our little pots of these teas finished off our meal.
My guess is that little sea-side towns like Duncannon do most of their business in the summer months, but if you should find yourself in the general area of New Ross, Sqigl is well worth a detour for its excellent seafood. You'll be well pleased with the prices as well: our meal came to 82.50, which I thought was excellent value for the quality of what we'd eaten.