The Fatted Calf
Following a hugely successful term working in a country charmer of a pub out in Glasson village, the Fatted Calf moved centre stage in Athlone. Whilst the space is new, what hasn’t changed is the foundation on which Feargal and Fiona O’Donnell have built their culinary reputation.
Their menus showcase superlative local artisan foods, from starred suppliers such as Lough Boora Farm, Bell Lane Coffee, and John Stone beef, but don’t come to the Fatted Calf expecting some form of provincial cooking. Mr O’Donnell may not be cooking in the capital, but he is cooking in the capital of the Midlands, and his cooking is as on-point and contemporary as any Irish chef.
So, there is fermented barley with chicken and Killenure leeks; there is the hot-technique-of-the-day where burnt Conference pear is served with the brilliant Young Buck blue cheese; there is confit of pork belly with treacle lentils; there is salt-baked turnip with slow braised shoulder of local lamb; there's a funky duck fat bearnaise with 30-day sirloin; and that much loved salted caramel you want for dessert comes in the form of a doughnut, served with creme brulée.
This is imaginative, finely-tuned modern Irish cooking, and it’s eager to impress the customers. Fiona O'Donnell minds front-of-house with calm authority and, if there is a buzz about Athlone, it's because there is a buzz about The Fatted Calf. And don’t miss their wonderful list of Irish artisan gins, just the ticket to get the night off with a bang! Just look for that bright red neon sign.
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