Collins Bar is in Dooradoyle, just outside Limerick city. It’s a busy, buzzy bar that is now doing a great selection of food.
Collins bar is big; it sits on the side of the road with plenty of car-parking, making it a good stop off point if travelling to on the M20. Inside it is bright and airy, with different sections, but all have well spaced tables and chairs, and there is a large beer garden outside. We got a lovely window seat looking out on the garden and set about looking at the menu.
Wayne Anderson is the chef here, and we heard great things about the food, hence this Friday afternoon road trip for me and the better, prettier half to find out for ourselves. The menu offers a selection of the starters are tasting or tapas portion, 4 for , 8 for which had me at hello; I love little taster plates.
Apart from that the starters sounded delicious, it’s always a good sign when there are several things you want to try. Watermelon with Bluebell Falls goat’s cheese sounded intriguing, a duck salad at only €5.95 looked tempting and ridiculously good value, while home cured salad and a superfood salad announced the intention here; this is a step above normal pub grub.
Main courses offered good salads, some pub classics like home made burger or fish and chips, while a chefs selection is where we were drawn. This section changes regularly, and for me it’s where the goodies are. Spiced rack of lamb, pan friend bream, Barbary duck breast or a vegetarian option of classic ratatouille with basil oil linguine. Main courses are priced mostly in the teens, with plenty of options under €15.
We stated with a tapas tasting plate of four pieces for me, while Deirdre couldn’t resist the watermelon and goat’s cheese. My slate came out, pretty as a picture with some of the home cured salmon – delicious – three fried prawns, a little molehill of duck salad and a small version of the watermelon salad, each piece was beautifully presented, and the flavours were all there, this was a delicate and delicious start.
Deidre’s watermelon with Bluebells falls goat’s cheese was equally good; a round of hollowed out watermelon and plenty of the delicious cheese with organic leaves and multicoloured heritage tomatoes was an excellent plate of food, and an extremely healthy choice to boot.
Main courses brought Deirdre the pan fried bream with pak choi, while I got a plate of perfectly pink rack of lamb spiced with star anise and served with handmade gnocchi, sundried tomatoes, and baby carrots and sugar snaps. We got sides of a lovely creamy mash and a simple salad and we both cleared out plates. Again these were dishes I would quite happily get in a high end restaurant, and the lamb especially was wonderful.
We finished as we starter with a selection of miniature desserts giving us a taste of mango cheesecake, lemon drizzle, raspberry sorbet, two types of chocolate and a dinky little apple pie we finished with some good coffees and sat there talking about a wonderful dinner for a while, before heading back home.
Collins Bar is exceptionally good; this is what a real gastro pub should be. Food that forgets it’s in a pub and strives to be as good as it can be. Wayne Anderson is one to watch, I just wish Collins Bar was down the road from my house, serving this food at these prices. Loved it.