Words by Michelle Hanley
August 25th, 2017
Struggling with how best to spend your last weekend in August? We’ve got you covered by serving up some road-trip worthy cafés to soak up the seaside vibes before the dreary winter month come in and they close up shop until next summer. All that’s left to do is hit the open road, you won’t regret it!
Set up only a few months ago by local surfer and chef, Hugh Galloway, Hugo’s has quickly become the go-to hangout between sets. A diamond in the rough of the Lahinch culinary scene, Hugo’s has sustainable and local values at its core using biodegradable packaging and organic, locally sourced ingredients. The focaccia bread is baked from scratch every morning to create mouthwatering sandwiches and salads at only a fiver each. You can’t go wrong with the pulled ham hock with pickle and mustard honey sandwich, and be sure to grab a pastel de nata (Portuguese custard tart) before they run out the door!
Lie on the loungers at the front, mere metres from the shore or take shelter in the modern interior of this seaside treasure at the end of the pier of Portrush Strand. Owners George and Shonee have created the perfect brunch spot for avocado advocates and coffee connoisseurs alike, all served on their custom ceramic range by esteemed potter Adam Frew. Open in the evenings too, take your chance to see the sun go down over the watery horizon as you soak up some live music.
A Strandhill institution, this seafront café serves up honest to goodness hearty lunches with a bang of flavour and a village atmosphere that will make you feel like you’ve dropped into your mates for a cuppa. The brainchild of local legends Myles and Jane, you can now take a bit of this nautical haven home with you with something from their craft shop or in the form of their best-selling cookbook filled with local tips and tricks to make the most of your stay.
Just a bit further down the coast of Sligo, you will find Pudding Row, a welcome refuge for those with a sweet tooth, serving any amount of delectable baked goods at its cake counter. This café doesn’t let down on the savoury side either which you’ll, of course, believe if you’ve ever visited its sister café, the Pepper Pot in the Powerscourt Centre, Dublin set up by the same woman, Dervla James. Don’t venture to this part of the coast without stopping in!
With a new menu every day and all dishes designed to share, this award winning rural restaurant is unlike any other you’ll find outside of the city boundaries. The atmosphere is casual but the flavours are anything but with ingredients sourced from the wilds of west Cork. Former chef of Café Paradiso, a Cork city institution, Mark Jennings has created something quite special and well worth the journey.
Last but not least on our list is Harry’s Shack which you would be forgiven for thinking from the photographs was located on the Californian coast (if we were lucky with the weather) but instead can be found the beach of Portstewart in Derry. The second restaurant founded by chef Derek Creagh and Donal Doherty, the food does not play second fiddle to the incredible setting as most of the fruit and vegetables are grown in the owner’s neighbouring two-acre farm.
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