Food writers love to find ways in which they can see the whole world in a grain of sand. Or, more precisely, they love to find ways in which you can understand a restaurant’s oeuvre by virtue of a single dish. Which brings us to the market lunch menu offered by Stevie and Amanda in Browne’s of Tuam. “Leek & Potato soup. Ham & Cheese Toastie”. That’s the stuff of the Barack Obama Plaza and a million other service stations. And yet here in this simple dining room at the rere of the old pub, Stevie and Amanda raise these culinary clichés into food for the Gods. Lane describes his humble leek and potato soup as a “L’Ecrivain soup”, and it is the very essence of great, complex cooking, the work of an exacting chef with a prodigious technique. The toastie brings together Hegarty’s cheddar, Jeremiche sourdough, truffle honey, and slow-cooked ham hock in slinky union. The result is, quite simply, utter perfection. And the same is true of everything else they cook in Browne’s.
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