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Reeds, Ferrycarrig Hotel, Wexford.


Wexford, Ireland. Situated 4 kms from Wexford Town on the N11.

1890 51 6171

Price: € 60-120 (for two with wine)

Hours: Lunch and Dinner seven days.


Reeds is the stunning river front restaurant at the Ferrycarrig. With views almost as memorable as the superb cuisine, our restaurant boasts an extensive local and internationally influenced menu, refined interior, enviable cellar and service that is second to none, it has that kind of easy air that rural Ireland was once famous for. It's a mixture of informality, genuine friendliness and an old-fashioned welcome.

As ever these days, we had to think about what we could drink. A glass of wine each as we were driving meant that our choice of wine was restricted to the half-bottle selection. There were three reds and three whites in half-bottles, and from these we picked a Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon at €15.45, which was rather better than I expected. A couple of large bottles of water completed our drinks order.

For starters, we'd ordered two chicken and wild mushroom tarts and a starter portion of linguini, which came with a tomato and mushroom sauce, topped off with grated pecorino cheese. I thought the tarts were well done, they presented very well and were nicely seasoned. Mushrooms have a curious habit of absorbing salt, so seasoning them properly can be harder than you'd suppose. The linguini too were well done, cooked al dente, and the finishing touch of real pecorino was a good one.

For main courses we had two sea bass and an ostrich dish for me. We had a long conversation about the merits and demerits of farmed sea bass, but in the end ordered them anyway. The sea bass dishes were good because they weren't overworked. The chef had kept the dish simple and the fish was allowed to taste of itself, something that doesn't always happen.

I had the ostrich fillet and I enjoyed it. It was served rather like a duck breast, already sliced. It's quite a rich meat and again it had been treated simply, which is how it works best. The vegetable accompaniments, which came in individual dishes for each of us, were a little on the unimaginative side, but then as winter approaches the choices get fewer, so it's forgivable.

As in many country hotels, the portions here were large, so having reached thus far, none of us had room for a dessert. We finished up with coffees all round and a rather good espresso came to me. Throughout the meal, the service had been attentive and friendly, and we left the snug a contented trio. The bill came to €150.45 without service charge.
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