Paolo Tullio's Review
A couple of weeks ago I asked for suggestions for eating near Athlone. Kind readers sent me a lot of suggestions and many of those included Grogans of Glasson. I had a free afternoon during filming and so did Tom Doorley, so the two of us set off for lunch there. From outside it doesn’t look very big, but Tardis like, it opens up inside to quite a big space. A bar is the first thing you meet on entering, but behind it you find the dining room, which is spacious and well lit.
Grogans calls itself a seafood and steak bar, so both of us felt that the seafood should be a part of our choices. The menu is quite long and very well priced with enough choices to appeal to most palates. The wine list amazed both of us; it’s a long a some restaurants’ lists and the mark-up is far less than usual - there are bottles of wine on it for €14.90, which seems closer to off-license prices than on-trade prices. A bottle of Sancerre for €29 looked like great value, so we ordered that.
Tom started with the deep-fried Irish Brie and I started with crab claws. Tom get two pieces of perfectly golden crumbed Brie which he enjoyed and I worked my way through a largish bowl of claws, which came smothered in a garlic, chilli and ginger butter. Both of these dishes were better than you’d find in most pubs, but the stars were the main courses. Tom found himself quite enthusiastic about his fish of the day, which was whiting. Not a fish that often engenders rapture, but it was beautifully cooked in a light batter and was really fresh, so it made Tom very happy. I’d chosen another starter as my main course, the mussels, which came in a classic sauce of white wine, cream and garlic. They were superb. Big, succulent and tasty, I grudgingly offered Tom a couple while jealously guarding the rest.
You readers were right. This is a good place to eat. When you take away the prices of the wine and coffees from the bill of €76.70, we ate two courses each for about €20 a head. The only down note turned out to be the Sancerre, which was flat and fruitless. I’d certainly recommend Grogan’s to you.