Food for the soul at Dunmanway’s Wild Garlic

Pat and Ann Marie Kiely are no strangers to the restaurant scene in West Cork. For 10 years, the couple celebrated a number of awards and recognitions at their restaurant in Bantry, not least keeping O’Connor’s recommended listing in the reputed Michelin Guide for nine years in a row.

The successful duo are now back in business together, and Dunmanway is the West Cork town gaining from their culinary prowess. With Ann Marie at the helm in the kitchen and Pat’s experienced hand at front of house, their new venture Wild Garlic Coffee Shop and Restaurant is already attracting attention from food guides and influencers.

Overlooking the square in Dunmanway, the bright and spacious 80-seater restaurant offers a creative and delicious menu designed by Ann Marie to reflect the seasons and the best of West Cork produce, from Caherbeg beef to Olives West Cork.

Ann Marie’s talents has led her to winning multiple awards over her career, including Best Seafood Restaurant three years in a row. She qualified as a finalist for Best Chef two years in a row.

At Wild Garlic, the accomplished chef is up with the birds every morning, baking her own gluten-free bread and mouth-watering cakes and pastries, as well as making all her own sauces and pickles.

The fact that 90 per cent of the options on the menu are gluten-free or can be made gluten-free, already sets this eatery apart from the crowd.

Breakfast is served from 9am to 12pm with such tempting options available as vegan friendly porridge served with almond milk, warm berries, chia seed and coconut to a Caherbeg clove and honey baked ham and smoked Carrigaline cheddar omelette. The classic full West Cork Breakfast of course has not been forgotten.

Brunch is served all day and includes such satisfying gems as vanilla scented French toast; wild Cork mountain mushroom bruschetta and wild Atlantic prawn pil pil.

The lunchtime experience at Wild Garlic is vibrant and exciting with specials changing daily and food that both looks and tastes good. Classics have been reimagined: a beef burger elevated to a new level with the addition of crumbled Ballyvourney black pudding, Cashel blue cheese and sriracha hot sauce; haddock battered with Clonakilty brew beer; a caesar salad served with Ann Marie’s homemade sweet apple and pear chutney and topped with Italian aged parmesan and lemon; sausage rolls are a mouthwatering marriage of blue cheese, Caherbeg pork and redcurrant jelly wrapped in the lightest puff pastry.

The sandwiches are no less compelling, ranging from a po-boy baguette using West Cork southern crumbed haddock to a warm shaved pastrami.

Child-friendly favourites range from homemade chicken goujons to classic mac and cheese.

Everything is made to order.

On a Saturday evening, the lights are dimmed, candles lit and Wild Garlic is transformed into a nighttime dining experience. The menu is a la carte or four courses are offered for a very reasonable €50. Creamy pernod and fennel infused West Cork seafood chowder; lemon thyme and honey infused goat cheese balls; Unionhall monkfish and prawn bake with garlic, basil and parmesan crumble; and roasted red pepper, butternut squash and cashew blue cheese risotto were just a few of the options on the menu at time of writing.

Placing the same emphasis on the quality of her wines as she does on her ingredients, Ann Marie’s wine list is a selection of small artisan wine producers sourced from winesdirect.

Wild Garlic Cafe also offers a takeaway service and has a private function room.

Wild Garlic Coffee Shop is open Tuesday-Saturday from 9am-4pm. The restaurant is open every Saturday night, 5-9pm. Bookings on 083-4264163.

To keep up with the options available at Wild Garlic, check out their mouthwatering posts on instagram and facebook.

Mary O'Brien

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