Celebrating Paddy's Day in An Port Mór
There is something that is hard to find in Dublin on Saint Patrick's Day: actual Dubliners. Just like you will never see real Parisians on the Champs Elysées (unless they work there or a friend visiting from Province dragged them there against their will), Irish people, and mostly Dubliners, do not enjoy the crazy crowd that Paddy's Day draws to their shore. Every year, we choose it as an excuse to visit the country.
This year, we decided to spend the weekend in Westport, Co Mayo. We rented a house with my boyfriend's family, in the hope of enjoying a quiet, restful time. Which we did, especially because it pretty much didn't stop raining for 3 days straight. Welcome to Ireland. We didn't get to go for long walks, but there were a few lovely meals - including one made of bolognese and carrot cake, courtesy of me - and one fantastic dinner at An Port Mór. This restaurant has been given many accolades and is one of the most famous in Westport, rightfully so.
We arrived on Saint Patrick's Day, around 8 pm, and the place was nicely busy. The restaurant is like a long bright corridor, with about 10 tables. The five of us sat down near the kitchen.
The bread and butter course included a treacle brown bread and apple white bread, both absolutely delicious. Because we had a pretty late lunch, I ordered an entree as my main.
One of the specials of the day, the Scallop carpaccio reminded me of an abstract representation of the Irish sea, with the fish, the corals, the shellfish, the seaweed - or maybe I just enjoyed the Prosecco a little too much? The combination of flavours was convincing and the dish felt very light and fresh.
At my table, the beef cheeks and the steak were absolute hits, while the hake was perfectly cooked and beautifully dressed. The seafood linguine was the only slight disappointment as the sauce was delicious but the pasta clearly overcooked for our liking.
For dessert, we all shared a scrumptious cheesecake - one of the best we have ever had, a tasty chocolate orange tart and a caramel pot. Everyone was so excited about the dessert that I didn't get a chance to take photos. I guess you will just have to believe me.
The service was flawless, polite and friendly. We loved the unpretentious atmosphere, typical of the Irish countryside, and we could sense a true love of cuisine, good local products and honest cooking. While in Westport, a meal in An Port Mór will always be a good idea.