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Grub Spy: Fox appeal

We head for the fishing village of Kilmore Quay in the sunny southeast both determined to enjoy our first dining trip away

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Dining al fresco at The Silver Fox.

Dining al fresco at The Silver Fox.

Dining al fresco at The Silver Fox.

Finally we get to take a proper spin out to the countryside for a visit to a restaurant of distinction. Based on a pal's recommendation, we're aiming for the fishing village of Kilmore Quay in Wexford, roughly a three-hour drive from home.

THE SILVER FOX

Crossfarnoge, Kilmore Quay, Co Wexford

Food €86.30; Wine €25.95; Water €5.00

Four stars

 

We are slightly disappointed to be dining al fresco again, but we are determined to have the craic and enjoy out first dining trip away. And we're talking about the sunny southeast, where they keep their beaches spotless and have no truck with dark clouds.

Ireland being Ireland, do I need to tell you that the weather is iffy? There are gusts of rain and some blue skies with sunshine. But who cares? Happy children are running around tables, seagulls are yelping overhead, and we're sipping a delicious Chardonnay.

And isn't that the thing we are learning about eating outdoors? The cooking and the weather don't have to be stupendous. It's great when they are, but what's going on around us is so often the key.

All those less-than-perfect meals back in the day in sunny Spain. They definitely weren't much to talk about - but those blue skies, the fun and the people, all wonderful memories and experiences.

Today we are sitting in the smartly arranged backyard of The Silver Fox seafood restaurant. There are pleasing starters of fresh crab and crab claws, smoked salmon and wholemeal bread. A Dover sole way too big for the plate, perfectly pan-fried in pools of brown butter, with sides of chunky chips and a dainty salad. There is crunchy breaded Dublin Bay scampi with homemade tartare sauce, chips and more salad.

Desserts are winners too, especially the rhubarb crumble with a splodge of whipped cream. Not too sweet, and nicely balanced. The raspberry crème brûlée is outstanding as well, with a seared brittle top and just the right levels of sweet, eggy give. Eaten indoors, I'm sure this meal would be very nice. Outdoors, it is heavenly.

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Crough Coffee delight.

Crough Coffee delight.

Crough Coffee delight.

 

CROUGH COFFEE

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Kilcomeragh, Mahon Bridge, Co Waterford

Coffee €6.00; Scone €2.95

4.2 Stars

While on the subject of heavenly outdoors eating spaces, I have got to mention an amazing coffee shop we happened across the next day on the way home from Wexford. We decided to venture off the busy M25 and take our chances. And, man, are we glad we did.

Located in Mahon Bridge about three miles from Kilrossanty, a parish at the foothills of the majestic Comeragh Mountains, pretty much in the middle of nowhere, you will find Crough Coffee.

Furnished with picnic tables, a troop of helpful smiley servers, and the most beautiful pastoral backdrop, we sipped delicious 3fe Americanos and nibbled hungrily at a scrumptious homemade berry and almond scone. When I say scones, I do mean scones - not those awful cardboard cut-out versions we so often get nowadays.

When you discover superb coffee and gorgeous food in a place like this, your cares and troubles melt away for a while. Sometimes it's all about the vibe, the surroundings, and a calming display of nature. If you get the opportunity, go to Kilmore Quay in Wexford and Mahon Bridge in Waterford.

Life might not be the same again, but some things just get better and better.

 

Grape Spy: Jean Smullen

Two unusual wines from Mediterranean France and Spain, both light and fresh, are my top picks toda

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2019 Jean Leon xarel-lo €20.95

This fantastic white is made from xarel-lo, a native grape from Spain's Penedès region. It is made by the Torres family and is completely organic. Jean Leon was a Spanish restauranteur who made his name in Hollywood where he met Frank Sinatra and James Dean, who invested in his first restaurant. This wine has white stone fruit aromas, peach and pear, and lots of fresh lemony flavours. Try it with a traditional Spanish Xató salad made from endive lettuce, with fish and a tomato dressing. Available from Mitchell & Son, Donnybrook Fair, Ardkeen in Waterford and independent off-licences.

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2019 Couveys Pinot Noir €10.99

Pinot noir is the great red grape of Burgundy. Its tannins are lower and acidity is higher, so it makes lighter, fresher red wine, good for drinking when the weather is warm. This one comes from the Pays d'Oc appellation in the foothills of the Pyrenees in the south of France. It has lots of raspberry flavours with hints of coffee and spice. Perfect with any sort of pasta dish. Exclusive to Spar, EuroSpar and Mace.

  • For wine events see jeansmullen.com

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