JW's Brasserie Westport Restaurant
The Octagon, Westport, Co. Mayo, Ireland
JW’s Brasserie is in the Wyatt Hotel, at the top of Westport Town on the Octagon. This unpretentious Brasserie serves food right through the day and evening. The hotel is one of the prettiest in Westport and occupies a key site, which probably goes some way to explaining its popularity.
JW’s is named for the Georgian architect James Wyatt, who is credited with being responsible for designing the town. I didn’t realise until recently that Westport is a ‘model’ town, in the sense that the street plan was deliberate, rather than a accident of expansion. This explains why it is so pleasing a layout, and a pleasure to walk around England has more than it’s fair share of towns built during the 18th and 19th century, while we have few. Mr. Wyatt deserves at least a restaurant named after himself.
THE Wyatt hotel is painted in yellows and white, with a pitched roof from which peek dormer windows. The décor throughout is traditional, but with all the modern conveniences added, and it has a lovely warm atmosphere, with friendly staff, and indeed guests. I have always liked it, from the first time I visited the town - it just looks like the place you wish you were staying while banged up in some soulless Section 27 monstrosity in the middle of nowhere.
The Brasserie itself is just off the bar, and the atmosphere is casual chic. Fine wooden tables and chairs are set off with glistening glasses and fine linen of an evening, while during the day the tables are left uncovered. People come and go all day, dropping in during the morning for coffee and scones, and during lunchtime the place is usually very busy. They run an 8 for 8 promotion, that’s eight hot dishes for €8 which attracts a good smattering of local workers as well as the constant stream of tourists which the town enjoys.
On our last stay we enjoyed dinner on a busy Saturday. The man in the kitchen is Eoin McDonnell, who is also the President of the Panel of Chefs of Ireland, and takes his food fairly seriously. The Brasserie menu features starters such as seafood chowder, a bowl of Killary harbour mussels, smoked salmon salad or a Caprese style salad with tomatoes, mozzarella and basil.
Main courses offer a choice of steak; the musses as a main course, baked cod, bangers and mash or a half roast crispy duck.
We had the very good Caprese salad followed by mussels and chips (moules et frites) for Deirdre, while I started with the very good croquette of black pudding and goats cheese, followed by and excellent piece of baked cod with a creamy mussels veloute, all topped with a smattering of mussels in their shells. We finished with a shared, and sinfully rich piece of chocolate gateaux, and a couple of good coffees.
The food was consistently good throughout, and we left feeling happily replete before climbing the stairs to our very comfortable room and just chilling out.
JW’s Brasserie is popular for a reason; they do their style of food well, and at a keen price. Off season there is a three course meal for two including a bottle of house wine of €60 available all evening, which is very good value. It’s hard not to like the Wyatt in general and the Brasserie in particular. Don’t try, just go with the flow and enjoy it.