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Valerie O'Connor rediscovers a little gem in Limerick, The Curragower

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Limerick people will know this place, it’s been there forever, on Clancy’s Strand with the best views of the river Shannon and King John’s Castle. Given that it’s always been there I’d never been there, because that’s how things go. I’d heard about their new menu, good home-style food so it was tine to give it a look and a taste. I bought my own personl Michael Winner and AA Gill along for the food, that’s my two boys who are already much taller than I, must be all that grub.

This is a lovely, cosy spot, like Nelly’s without the diddldeyai, thank God. We had a nice table by the fire and checked out the menu which was, to me, surprisingly short. Specials were chicken and brocolli bake or fishcakes with couscous and salad. The other mainstays are chowder, a club sandwich, seafood pie and shepherd’s pie. I’m not a bit pie eater so I chose the fishcakes, the lads had chowder and the scampi. I expected bar food and looked down my own nose as I waited.

The food arrived, generous but not huge portions and the surprises began. The chowder, almost spilling from it’s urn, was the creamiest soup chock full of salmon, prawns and white fish with little chunks of potato. It was silky smooth and perfectly seasoned, the fish still firm but fully cooked. No floury grey soup here. This is the best bowl of chowder I’ve tried. It comes with deliciously soft and wholesome brown bread, so is a full meal. If I were a Guinness drinker this would have made the perfect , proper Irish food experience.

The scampi were proper breaded prawns, lightly fried and served prettily on a pile of crunchy, colourful salad, with decent chips. The fishcakes were all salmon, made mostly with potato and little flour to fry them. They were crispy and soft on the inside, served with a cool, fresh mint cream dressing in the cutest jug that I wanted to steal, but you can’t do that stuff.  I foolishly asked if the fish-cakes came from the fishmonger but no, everything is made fresh in the pub kitchen. Morto, I was. I didn’t know about deserts till I’d filled my face happily but I couldn’t stop then. I’m always on the look out for a decent crumble so I had the apple and toffee, serevd with a choice of cream, ice cream or home-made custard. Home-made custard!! I couldn’t choose so I had all three. It was perfect, served pie-slice style made from firm but crisp and thin pastry. The lads had the flourless chocolate cake, which came warm with strawberries and ice cream. This is a talented cook with a real feel for food and a light touch where it’s needed.

This meal was such a treat, unfussy, hearty, homey and delicious. It’s affordable and satisfying, and a perfect example of a menu of doing a few things, and doing them well.

The Curragower
Curragower Bar, Clancy’s Strand Limerick
061 321 788
Food served until 8pm Wed - Sun
Breakfast all day

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