I had first heard of Eala Bhán a few months ago after an Australian man left a rather unusual review on TripAdvisor. His review focused on his forgotten windbreaker jacket rather than the meal he received. Invariably it made the rounds on the web due to the response of the restaurateur and like most I had a good chuckle from it. It was definitely an interesting way to be introduced to a restaurant!
Eala Bhán is located along the Garavogue river in the centre of the picturesque Sligo town. The restaurant takes it’s name from the white swans that can be found along the river, as eala bhán means white swan in Irish. Inside there are further nods to the local area, with many of WB Yeats’ poems gracing the walls. Upon entering the premises one is welcomed by wooden floors and white seats, this is modern simplicity at it’s finest. The staff are attentive, prompt and in abundance, so we are shown to our table immediately and checked on regularly throughout our meal.
Once settled into our seats, we are provided with an amuse bouche of vegetable soup served in an espresso cup. Given that it was cold, wet and windy outside, it was a welcomed sight.
For starters, I had the warm chorizo, Fivemiletown honey goats cheese and beetroot salad. The smokiness of the chorizo mixed well with the sweet goats cheese and earthy beetroot. Walnuts and the parsnip shard add a much needed textural element, which makes every mouthful a delight. So good that I am definitely inspired to recreate this at home.
(Warm chorizo, Fivemiletown honey goats cheese beetroot salad.)
Main course is the crispy confit Cantonese pork belly, which has been cooked to absolute perfection. Just looking at it and it falls apart. There is a hint of the warming orange, star anise and five spice that it is cooked with, and it is served with black pudding mash, sweetened cabbage, a cherry sauce and a bacon shard. The sweetened cabbage almost stole the show, I’d have been happy to have had more of it.
(Crispy confit Cantonese pork belly.)
Lastly for dessert was the mini baked Alaska. If there is one dessert that gets me seriously nostalgic, it’s this one and it didn’t disappoint. With a nudge from a spoon the blow torched Italian meringue gives way to a vanilla ice cream and sponge centre. This version also included a fruit coulis, which added an extra bit of sweetness. It was fantastic way to end a meal, with me grinning from ear to ear as I left the premises, making sure that I had my jacket in tow.
(Mini baked Alaska.)
For those that don’t know, Sligo town is located in Ireland’s north west, 210km from Dublin, and is an area known for it’s rugged beauty, the surrounding mountains (especially Benbulben and Knocknarea), and the Irish poet WB Yeats. In recent years, Sligo has put itself on the map when it comes to championing Irish food. There is the Sligo Food Trail (which Eala Bhán is a part of), food markets and multiple food festivals.
T: (071) 914 5823
*** I received an invitation from Eala Bhan, however I am not affiliated with them. The invitation included a three course “early bird” meal and a glass of house wine for myself and my partner, in exchange for this blog post. I would have dined at Eala Bhan regardless, as stated above. I would like to take the time to thank Val Robus for organising the visit.