Knox is all about levels.
The stellar level of the cooking means that the decibel level on any given Friday night is going to be at level 11. This is one of the most happening rooms in the North West, and everyone in here seems to be celebrating something.
And the seriousness of the food offer means that the level that the queue reaches out of the door and down O’Connell Street in Sligo on any given lunchtime is going to be serious.
But back to that food: when a kitchen can do a ceviche of sea bream on a crispy tostado with lime, chilli and coriander, and make it seem like the best thing you’ve eaten all year, then you know the kitchen is just oozing confidence. A dish like this needs superlative precision to make it work, and the kitchen knits every detail together into a trio of mouth-delighting feasts.
Crab on toast with vanilla and lime is another cracker, saline and resonant, but the depth of flavour the team whacks into the meatballs with tomato sauce has to be eaten to be believed. (Their secret is to use pork belly ribs when making the sauce). A fresh tomato sauce cuts through the richness of croquettes, abetted by an excellent salad, but then the kitchen crashes to earth with a dull dish of patatas bravas, all the more surprising given the sublime excellence of everything else.
But they are back on form with a dessert of red wine poached prunes with vanilla mascarpone cream, and a little taster of churros with chocolate sauce is wickedly rich.
Patrick Sweeney and David Dunne left behind careers in banking to open this humdinger of a restaurant and, after only a year the room feels like its been in Sligo forever. They have taken their time to get things the way they want them, which means the tapas menu we enjoyed is a recent introduction. Their daytime offer runs from breakfast and brunch – Sligo breakfast bap; Knox Spanish brekky – through clever and accessible daytime dishes – Massaman curry; fish pie; chicken burger. To put it quite simply, Knox is the place where you want to be, the room with the energy, the room with the food that has the zeitgeist of 2016.
32 O’Connell Street, Sligo knoxsligo.ie
Knox is all about levels.
NEW! Ireland the Best 100 Places
Hardback, out October 2019
John and Sally McKenna have selected 100 extraordinary Places throughout Ireland that epitomize what is unique and entrancing about the beautiful island of Ireland.
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