An Seanachai pub and restaurant is situated just outside Dungarvan on the N25 towards Cork. This roadside pub and restaurant has raised the game somewhat with a new Italian chef, wood fired pizza oven and authentic ingredients and flavours.
The popular bar and restaurant has been trading for over 170 years and has connections to famine times when a room was built onto the property to accommodate mourners burying their dead in the nearby famine graveyard, Reilig an tSléibhe.
The pub retains many of its original features to include flagstone floors, open turf fires, thatched roof and traditional bar counter and fittings. A function room hosts gigs regularly where the likes of John Spillane can be found in concert.
Paolo used to say follow a chef you like; Davide Suleymano is one such; we have reviewed his cooking in Dublin twice before and it has always been spot on.
Here he has worked with owner Dave Owens to create a reason to travel outside foodie Dungarvan, which is no mean feat with the competition in the town.
The menu reads like an authentic Italian, and local fish features strongly. I am very tempted by an authentic Carbonara, but the specials of a scallop starter and lobster with spaghetti just can’t be ignored.
As I wait three rounds of freshly baked focaccia from the pizza oven appear, stuffed with Parma ham, mozzarella and prosciutto and courgette, with fresh basil leaves. Bread is baked here daily the these little parcels got me off to a great start. There is a well chosen wine least, and of course the full bar, but I was driving and stuck with San Pellegrino.
My started of scallops appeared beautifully presented as a trio, each separately topped with asparagus, pancetta or red onion and sitting on a square of fried polenta. As I ate them I think back a decade when it would have been unheard of to get food of this quality and presentation outside a very fine restaurant.
Last week I ate lobster and rice in one of the finest restaurants outside Barcelona, so my main course of locally caught lobster and fresh spaghetti had a high bar to clear. The sweet lobster meat had been removed from the shell which still appeared on the plate, the head standing at one end with the claws to each side. Cherry tomatoes, garlic and chilli completed the sauce and the flavours were intense and exciting. It really doesn’t get any better than great produce treated simply and well.
I finished with a traditional Tiramisu and a cup of coffee made using locally roasted beans. An Seanachai are making quite a name for themselves locally with the coffee brigade, and each morning there is a steady stream picking up a coffee and fresh Blaa for breakfast.
An Seanachai is a find, a hidden gem that will no doubt garner much more attention. I loved it and you should drop by for some of the best authentic Italian food and fresh fish in the South East. Excellent in every respect.