Life

Eating out: Batch takes some beating when visiting Falcarragh

Dominic Kearney

Dominic Kearney

Dominic is a long-suffering Everton fan and covers the eating out scene in Derry and Donegal.

Batch in Falcarragh, Co Donegal
Batch in Falcarragh, Co Donegal Batch in Falcarragh, Co Donegal

AS HEATWAVES go, this was a very Donegal one, warm enough for short sleeves, but overcast and with an ever-present suggestion of rain in the air.

Still, no-one in the family was complaining. We had split our holiday in two: after a week sweltering in London, being cooked on the Tube, we switched to north-west Donegal, grateful for the cool breeze coming off the Atlantic to reach us at the house we'd taken in Bunaninver, more than happy to spend the days reading and meandering along one of the nearby beaches.

The furthest we ventured was Falcarragh, maybe 30 minutes from where we were staying, drawn there by a recommendation from a friend to try Batch.

Falcarragh is a pretty little place, its main street lined with pubs, and shops selling everything from laminating pouches to bug zappers to statues of Our Lady.

It was late on a Saturday morning when my brother, daughter and I arrived, and the village was bustling, the car registrations suggesting it was a hit with folk from all of Ireland. Most of whom, it seemed, had been recommended to try Batch, too.

We hadn't thought to book and, even though we turned up just before midday, we had to wait until 1.30pm for a table.

The strange thing was, Batch didn't feel busy at all. There was no sense of rush, no hint of hurry. I guess it's because they use space so well.

A counter to the left of the entrance serves customers looking for bread and pastries while a small area to the right holds shelves selling varieties of pasta, sauces, baking mixes, wines, and beers – none of which you'd find on the shelves of most supermarkets.

There are one or two tables dotted between these spaces, as well as more in the back, along with a deep leather sofa and armchair right by the front window. This is where we

ended up, from which we had a perfect view of how this bakery-cum-café-cum deli operates – at a cool, leisurely sprint.

The quiche I had my eye on – bacon and brie – had gone by the time we were seated, as had the fantastic-looking sausage rolls, so I chose the goat cheese and onion marmalade quiche. The pastry was too thick and hard to cut, but the combination of flavours was a delight: creamy, salty cheese and sharp, sweet onion.

You might think there's not a lot you can say about sausage and beans on toast, and, to be fair, you'd have a point. I doubt the owners of Batch would agree, however. The beans might have been just beans, but the sausages were delicious, and showed a commitment to using quality ingredients in even the most basic of dishes.

My brother's fritters were fresh and light, and nicely seasoned to balance the sweetness of the corn. Like the sausages, the bacon was high quality, thick and full of flavour, not the kind of rashers that shrivel in surrender at the first sign of heat. The avocado provided a lovely subtle, creamy coolness to the whole plate. A perfectly balanced dish of flavours and textures.

Pudding consisted of three traybakes, the kind you might find in any bakery, but of a standard that would be harder to come across. The caramel square consisted of three lovely layers – thick chocolate, gooey toffee, and a crunchy base. My daughter's grin told me all I needed to know, which is just as well, as she didn't leave me any to try for myself.

I did manage to snaffle some of the raspberry blondie, however, and, while the sponge was maybe just a touch on the heavy side, the taste was lovely, a nice balance of sharp and sweet.

And this balance and care was there, too, in the lemon drizzle tea cake, although this time the lightness lacking in the blondie was present.

If you're ever up this way, Batch is definitely worth a visit. Book first, though, and look out for the evening menu which runs on certain days through the summer. That's bound to be special.

:: THE BILL

Batch coffee house, bar & kitchen,


Main Street, Falcarragh, Co Donegal.


Tel +353 (0) 83 363 9222.


www.batch.ie

  • Goat cheese and red onion marmalade quiche, pasta, salad €7.95
  • Sweetcorn fritters, crispy bacon, avocado €7.50
  • Child's sausage and beans on toast €3.00
  • Lemon drizzle tea cake €3.50
  • Caramel square €3.50
  • Raspberry blondie €3.50
  • Tea €1.90
  • Diet Coke €2.00

TOTAL: €32.85 (£27.84)