Life

Eating Out: Scarpello take toasties to a whole new level

A day at the beach? Warm up with a tasty toastie and some hearty soup from Scarpello and Co
Dominic Kearney

Scarpello and Co Sandwich Truck

Rathmullan Pier

Rathmullan

Co Donegal

WHAT would your superpower be? I’ve often fancied invisibility – purely for reasons of research, you understand – but I’d be worried it wouldn’t cover clothes, and how many really hot days do you ever get in Ireland? X-ray vision? That’s never made sense; you’d just see bones. Flying, maybe, but where do you keep your luggage?

No, what I’d choose is the ability to toast sandwiches with my bare hands. Just think of it. A toasted, tasty treat whenever you wanted, no mess, no washing up, no burnt-on bits in impossible to reach places, (which you’d definitely risk with hot-weather invisibility, by the way).

I’d only use my power for good, naturally, although I admit its application would be limited.

Still, that’s what I’d go for. I love a good toastie. Mind, not so much that I ever make one. Like everyone else, I’ve a toasted sandwich maker in my kitchen cupboard. I bought it, made myself a cheeky cheese and pickle, and vowed never to eat anything different ever again. And then I had to clean it. And then I bunged it in the cupboard. It has yet to see the light of day since.

Oh, but if I could find somewhere that did fantastic toasties, made by someone who could get their head around that weird thing of buttering the outside of the bread, where the machine was washed by another’s hands! I tell you, I’d be there like a shot.

Well, I’ve found just that somewhere. In, I grant you, quite an unexpected place – a compact walled yard off the car park by Rathmullan Pier. It’s a food truck run by Scarpello & Co, who make amazing sourdough bread at their bakery in Newtown Cunningham and then send it to outlets throughout the north west. They’re an imaginative bunch, and the Rathmullan toastie truck is just one of their attempts to diversify.

I must say, I’d never have thought of a toastie as being the ideal dish to serve by a beach, but this works a treat. Inside the yard are a number of tables, sheltered from the wind coming off the Swilly, shaded from the sun (OK, rain) by massive parasols (OK, big umbrellas). You mightn’t step off the Copacabana looking for a toastie, but this is Donegal, where you do.

And these toasties are just brilliant. For starters, the bread’s fantastic – tangy, punchy, full of character, and the texture and crunch and bite is simply enhanced by grilling which, if done right, maintains the softness of the bake.

All the toasties here feature cheese, and the care they take with this single ingredient shows just how seriously they take this business. They use their own blend of five different cheeses – cheddar, mozzarella, gruyere, provolone, and comte – to create the perfect sweet, nutty, salty, melting ooze. You can get the plain cheese, or choose from a selection with added ingredients. We went for the ham and the one with chargrilled vegetables and rocket. (Except there was no rocket, as it hadn’t arrived from headquarters; Kim Jong-un could give them a few pointers).

A day at the beach? Warm up with a tasty toastie and some hearty soup from Scarpello and Co

We wolfed down both greedily and merrily. The Parma ham gave a lovely touch of sweetness and richness, while the vegetables added depth and earthiness. Next time – and there will be several – I’ll go for the cheese and onion instead of the vegetable, or maybe even as well as, though I’m wary of mixing my toasties.

Talking of which, did you hear about the rabbit…

Special mention should go to the accompanying chips – one portion of plain and one of garlic and rosemary. Crisp, then soft, with an amiable depth of flavour. And we shared a delicious tomato soup, which was sweet, hearty, and full of zip. We finished with the ice cream, to warm ourselves up, ready to return to the beach.

This was a special lunch. I know I sound like I’m going over the top about a humble toastie, but I think it’s worth it. Scarpello & Co deserve credit for making a simple butty simply terrific.

THE BILL

Sandwich and Fries Combo x 2 €17

Soup €2.50

Ice cream €2

Coffee x 2 €4

Total €25.50 (£22.39)

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