Gallaghers hotel is a sophisticated glass fronted building in the centre of Letterkenny, well known in Donegal for its hospitality and is a sister hotel to the Clanree on the way into the town.
The Inis Meain bar and restaurant is on the mezzanine level and boasts a spectacular chandelier which descends into the foyer beneath giving a real sense of grandeur. With tables circling the restaurant everybody gets to experience the wonderful glass front overlooking the main street.
Head chef Gaz Mc Peake joined the team recently and is in the process of transforming the food offering at Gallaghers. We have worked with him for the past number of years back to his time at Sligo Park and more recently in Fresh Chef, and he is a real asset to the brand.
On the evening we visited Storm Desmond was creating quite a mess outside while we were enjoying his 5 course tasting menu which he kindly created for our daughter’s birthday. As we were reading through the menu and wine list we enjoyed pre-dinner drinks, a vodka and tonic for myself, while himself had a pint of Heineken and the girls had orange juice/
The wine list was short but well put together with a choice of four reds and the same of whites including an Australian chardonnay or Shiraz from Botany Bay and nicely all priced at €22.50 or €5.60 a glass except the Spanish Rioja or Verdejo which was €27. We decided to have the South African Great Expectations Sauvignon blanc which was a fruity wine with a hint of the exotic
So the experience began;, first up was roast celeriac & white truffle soup which was presented in a dainty tea cup and served with warm rolls, it had a rich taste which was velvety in texture. Truffles are just wonderful, and even in humble soup add an extra dimension.
To follow was a warm salad of pulled pork with caramelized apple and miso glaze, the pork was exceptionally tender and beautifully presented with a fusion of Asian flavours. Then came my favourit, as I have always loved Gaz’s risottos and tonight was no exception. Risotto of Portavogie langoustines with buttered samphire was packed with prawns, topped with the buttered samphire and two large langoustines served with a wedge of lemon. Risotto done well is wonderful, and the combination of the sweet seafood and tangy samphore was perfect.
The main course then followed which was a seared medallion of local dry aged beef placed on a bed of runner beans, served with two hand dived scallops, potato fondant and a jug of pepper sauce. Another excellent dish and I am about to run out of superlatives.
Finally was an assiette of desserts including a Baileys cheese cake, a banoffee and chocolate fudge cake, all were delicately cut into triangles and served to the centre of the table top heavy with chocolate cake pre-empting that this would be the girls favourite, and they were right
I hope this gives you a good flavour of what they are doing here now. There is an a la carte menu served on a daily basis with a 2-course pre-theatre menu Sunday to Thursday between 5-7pm for €18 including a glass of wine. The A la Carte meanwhile has a choice of six starters priced from €4.50 for the soup of the day, €6.95 for seafood chowder or king prawn tempura or a platter for 2-4 people at €12.95 which allows you sample a couple of appetisers.
Main courses start at €10.95 for the lamb stew and go up to €21.95 for the 10oz sirloin or ribeye with all the trimmings. Other mains include pan roasted supreme of chicken, naked salmon or a vegetarian option of smoked cheese and mushroom linguine. All sides are €3.50 and desserts €5.50 with a selection of everybody’s favourites from warm apple pie, cheesecake of the day, profiteroles or a pear and blackberry crumble or selection of ice creams in wafer baskets
Gallaghers is undergoing a major revamp currently and once relaunched Inis Meain will be a fine dining restaurant and Mc Carry’s will be transformed into a large gastro pub. We are long time fans of gaz McPeake, and I’m looking forward to seeing this roll out in 2016.