METRO newspaper - April 25, 2006
"Snug yet sophisticated: John Walsh's Letterfrack restaurant, Pangur Bán, is worth a major detour"
TABLE OUT OF TOWN
"Nestled just off the Wetport/Clifden road in Letterfrack, deep in Connemara, lays the little cottage that houses Pangur Bán. Now this is what I call a table out of town. It does take a while to get to John Walsh's terrific little restaurant (it's a four hour drive from Dublin) but, my word, is it ever worth a visit. Walsh was born in Staines, weat London, but his family has lived in Letterfrack for generations, so when he returned here a decade ago, after years as a peripatetic chef, to set up Pangur Bán, it felt like a homecoming.'The cottage was just a shell', he said, showing me a photograph that proved his point. 'But it scrubbed up quite well'.Indeed it has. Pangur Bán has a homely yet contemporary feel. It's snug without being claustrophobic, an atmosphere that is helped by the high ceilings and crisp furnishings. The service is sharp too, as my mother discovered when she, inadvertently, set light to her menu with one of the on-table candles. The waitress swooped and dealt with the nascent conflagration as though she were wearing a cape.
The food is modern Irish and, as with all the best food, is super-fresh. My mother's starter, peanut and pumpkin soup, was pungent but fine-tuned - the peanuts did not overwhelm the more delicately flavoured pumpkin. And as for her main course, a lamb and apricot curry that could well have been a disaster in the hands of a lesser chef, well, suffice to say, that she had to be very vigilant to ward off my raids on the melting lamb.
Luckily for my dear old ma, my own choices were pretty good so she escaped with most of her food: the smoked salmon was coarsely textured and meaty and the rack of lamb with celeriac monumenatally tasty without being too monumental. A slice of lemon and lime baked cheesecake (most certainly hom-made) rounded off a splendid dinner in a lovely setting. At about €80 all-in - highly recommended."
Article in the Connemara View Newspaper
"While there was a great performance in the Bridgestone Accommodation Guide, only one restaurant in Connemara was featured this year (2008), the ever popular and creative 'Pangur Bán', run by John Walsh. John's cuisine is described as both 'funky' and 'from the heart' and while the menu may be unpredictable, the quality assurance of the food and service never are. As anyone who has eaten there will attest, John's use of seasonal and local food cooked with imagination and flair is truly a gastronomic delight in atmospheric and enjoyable surroundings."
Pangur Bán Catering & Cookery School
Letterfrack, Connemara, Co. Galway, Ireland
Tel: 095 41243