This was the second Gourmet Food Parlour, after spoiling the good citizens of Dun Laoghaire with their great home cooked food, the two Lorraines brought their offering to Swords.
Gourmet Food Parlour in Swords serves excellent home-made food in a very friendly atmosphere. If you haven't already been you don't know what you are missing, it really is very good. The specials change daily, and if the burger is on, please try it, but you may want to share with a friend!
Joint owners Lorraine Byrne and Lorraine Heskin are using ideas gleaned from their travels to add some originality and depth to the menus, and in the process differentiating Gourmet Food Parlour from their more ersatz competitors.
Swords is now five years old, and has grown from its original one unit to a quite large two unit space that is beautifully decorated.
The walls are lined with shelving that hold all manner of condiments, chutneys, wines and oils that are served in the restaurant, and are also available to buy and take home. The colours scheme is done out in calming shades of greens, and tables and chairs are well spaced. There is a level of attention to detail here that is very impressive; there are little ‘barrows’ of herbs, which can be rolled around, and are used to create a barrier between tables when things get busy, while a collection of wicker baskets, the Julie Andrews type, hang from the ceiling in one section, and I am fairly sure each and every one is slightly different.
From Thursday through Saturday, GFP opens in the evening with a tapas menu, accompanied by life music and the room takes on a different character in the evening, with clever lighting and design creating and intimate atmosphere.
We were eating as three that evening, daughter Abigail wife Deirdre and myself. They recommend two to three dishes and we sort of stuck to it. Bringing you through the dishes we started with patatas bravas, which were well made and came with a nicely judged salsa. A little pot of homemade chicken liver pate with brandy and thyme came with crispy ciabatta and cranberry compote, and we needed more bread to finish it.
Crispy sweet potato fries were really nice and came with a kicker of a garlic aioli, while our first mean dish of roast pork with sautéed Savoy cabbage was intense and delicious. Two fishcakes are generous, not just in size, but ingredients, with a sneaky scallop in the centre. A Catalan favourite of pan fried Chorizo in sherry makes an excellent picky dish and we are defeated by the time we try the slow cooked lamb shank.
Desserts in GFP are irresistible, and we manage to find room for a couple of panna cotta with coconut, which are delicious and make a great end to a fine meal. The wine list is well chosen and the two girls enjoyed a couple of classes of the Spanish Verdejo.
Gourmet Food Parlour has gone from strength to strength over the last six years. The atmosphere is lovely, and the mostly female staff look like they love being at work. There are four of the Gourmet Food Parlour outlets now, so you really have no excuse if you haven’t been to any yet.