Ballina/Killaloe suffers from an identity crisis. It’s two towns but really its one. It’s in two counties (Tipperary and Clare respectively) but they’re very, very close. What brings them together is a narrow bridge across Lough Derg. More importantly, a tradition of fine dining also brings these two picturesque towns together.
Goosers Bar and Restaurant is located on the Ballina banks of the Lake. Owners Fidelma and Thomas Andrews take their cooking very seriously indeed, and it shows.
I had just come in after a morning of kayaking, archery and high rope climbing (you, know your average morning in Killaloe). Needless to say I was ravenous. My friend, on the other hand, had done nothing that day but is very fat so he is always hungry.
Fatty had Atlantic Mussels steamed with white wine, garlic, butter, cream and onions. It was a huge plate of mussels costing €9.75. Can’t argue with that. Fatty thinks of himself as somewhat of a mussel expert (excuse the pun) and thought they were very good.
I had the daily special starter – Crab and Mango Salad with a Tarragon and Lemon Dressing. This was also very good and cost €12.
For mains we had Smoked Salmon, Cherry Tomato and Pea Risotto topped with a Fillet of Cod poached in Herb and Lemon Stock (15.50), and Beer Battered Cod with Celeriac and Pea Puree (9.95) served with Colcannon. Even Fatty couldn’t get over the size of the portions. His risotto and cod was the kind of meal you’d expect from a posh restaurant while my beer battered cod was perfectly fried and as big as a whole tuna. We were beaten. We couldn’t even have dessert even though it would have been free.
This is a really good restaurant that isn’t too far off the N7 if you’re not specifically going to Ballina or Killaloe. In fact, these two towns have quite a few good places to eat. Also worth checking out are The River Run Bistro, 27 Church St, and The Cherry Tree.
Gooser’s Bar and Eating House
Ballina/ Killaloe (Tipperary/ Clare border)
Phone No: (061) 376791