Editor’s note: Bella Supiana is working with JJ Kavanagh & Sons on a new series called ‘Tastes of Ireland’. She’ll be travelling to our destinations around Ireland and scouting out the best places to eat for hungry travellers. In this post she picks her 7 top food and drink experiences in Waterford City.
I’d never been to Waterford before my most recent #tastesofireland trip with JJ Kavanagh & Sons and as I write this I wonder why it’s taken me so long to get down there! I was blown away by the sheer passion each and every restaurant and cafe portrayed and I instantly fell in love with the place. With a huge variety of superb places to eat and quench your thirst, let’s dive in and take a closer look…
Top 7 Food and Drink Experiences in Waterford City
No 9 Cafe
When I asked you guys to tell me where to eat in Waterford I was overwhelmed with the amazing response. No 9 Cafe was recommended several times and I knew I had to eat there! Met by passionate and welcoming owner Bill, he gave us the lowdown on how this centrally located cafe has gone from strength to strength. Opened in the last four years, it has become one of Waterford’s much adored foodie spots. They serve lunch seven days a week and have a popular brunch on Sundays. Quality food served with a smile seems to be the key to their success amongst the business accum of all owners – Bill, Lisa, Irene and Philip.
I have to say, I was completely and utterly spoilt with an array of delicious dishes. The hummus board started off the afternoons feast with crunchy garlic croutons, breadsticks, roasted red peppers, tomato chutney, olives, rocket and a creamy hummus. It’s a great snack or starter to share between friends. Their blaas are to die for. Whether you’re a vegetarian or meat lover they have one for everyone. The juicy grilled halloumi with marinated roasted red peppers, grilled courgette and beetroot, slathered with a lovely mayo and topped with crisp lettuce was like taking a bite out of the Mediterranean! The heartier Cuban blaa with BBQ pulled pork and ham, mustard, pickles and melted cheddar was sensational. Both were sandwiched between Waterford’s famed fluffy and soft floury blaa, to call them epic would be an understatement!
Other delicious dishes to try are their roast chicken with a luscious Whiskey mushroom sauce that’s served alongside roasted vegetables, out of this world mac and cheese lightly infused with thyme and bigged up with a huge portion of Caesar salad on the side, chicken wings either in a spicy or BBQ sauce with celery sticks and a blue cheese dip or the croque madame. They also have a super fresh lemonade from Carter’s just downstairs that goes well with just about anything! For a pretty pink lemonade get a splash of grenadine to have yourself an artisanal kinda Shirley Temple.
Not only do they serve quality food, they have been awarded one of the best family friendly places to eat out in Ireland, not once but twice! With an impressive play area for kids and arguably the best baby and children’s menu I have ever seen, it’s not hard to see why families come in their droves! Their baby food brand, Pip and Pear which started off in the kitchens of No 9 Cafe, during the wee hours when everyone else was sleeping, features beautifully as their babies menu. For simple good hearty food, No 9 Cafe has you sorted with a huge selection of gorgeous dishes that will please everyone. A definite must try…
Momo Restaurant, found in the heart of the Deise is serving superb expressions of hearty meat dishes along with knock out vegetarian, vegan, dairy free and gluten free options too. Owner Kamilla describes herself as a flexitarian, her diet consists primarily of vegetarian food but she eats a lesser amount of meat and fish that has been both sustainably and ethically sourced. The menu and ethos at Momo’s has clearly been influenced by Kamilla’s approach to food and that’s what I find most interesting and commendable of all!
Listed in the top one hundred places to eat in 2016 by McKenna’s Guide, awarded ‘Best Kids Size Me’ in Munster in 2015 and in the whole of Ireland in 2016, I started to see that this county let alone Momo’s is one of Ireland’s serious food destinations homing la creme de la creme of must try culinary awarded spots.
Delicious and juicy were sauteed potatoes and root vegetables tossed with smoky pan fried chorizo and rich black pudding, this dish was served alongside toasted gorgeous Seagull’s bakery sourdough and a good knob of their house herbed butter. What a stunning dish, balanced wonderfully, so hearty, filling and utterly delicious! Citrus herb falafel was up next. Served on homemade flatbread with beetroot puree, smoked paprika pepper pesto, pickled salad and a balsamic reduction. This was such a fresh dish and new take on the much loved Middle Eastern street food snack.
For the meat lovers, their 8oz beef burger on a homemade soft bun with smoked melted Knockanore cheddar, red onion marmalade, pickled cucumber salad and garlic mint mayo served with a sweet chili jam and french fries is what you would call an epic burger! Juicy, meaty and naughty written all over it, if you’re into burgers this will woah you.
To finish on a sweet note I tried a selection of their house made ice creams – avocado and banana worked really well but their mixed berry deliciousness was what got me going! I thought it was what you’d call summer in one mouthful, just heavenly. For the vegans or the adventurous type, try the vegan pavlova (yep you heard it!) made with aqua faba, the drained water from a can of chickpeas. The gas from the chickpeas produces enough gas to hold as a pretty good egg white replacement. The texture is a lot drier than a normal pavlova but for what it is, it’s truly innovative and brave to serve in the middle of Waterford so a huge round of applause is in order!
Kamilla is a woman who oozes with nothing but love and passion for superb food. I can assure you, that this is at the heart of what you eat and experience at Momo’s. I tasted passion with every bite and as I unashamedly gobbled my way through each dish I felt an overwhelming sense of joy! So go forth and dive into a superb plate of food whenever you get a chance to visit Waterford.
Hands down one of my favorite places I had the pleasure to visit. Welcomed so warmly by Ellie, our waiter and Enrico the chef and owner, I felt as if I had been transported to one of those charming restaurants you find in Italy. Found on Waterford’s quay, it has superb location and with it’s warming red exterior and gold hanging lamp shades, it screamed come on in. And that we did and I promise, it did not disappoint.
A fizzy and citrus Prosecco Campari with a hint of orange started our culinary journey at La Fontana. Followed by a crisp Falanghina white wine which complimented our starters of succulent mushroom and tomato focaccia, breaded deep fried juicy squid and creamy buffalo mozzarella, peppery rocket, rich Brazola and thin slithers of Coppa ham. The night started on a fabulous note, each and every starter was delicious.
For mains our tummies were graced with meaty turbo and glazed balsamic oven baked vegetables of courgette, green beans and tomato – so juicy and rich in flavour yet still so light and gorgeous. The tagliata medallion of beef was honestly one of the best steaks I have ever tried, the world over. Not to go over the top but I would honestly go back to Waterford to eat this dish alone again and again and again! Succulent couldn’t even describe just how juicy it was and to say tender wouldn’t be doing it justice. It was melt in your mouth deliciousness… Any avid steak lover would be in heaven right here. The final savoury dish was an al dente spaghetti with spinach and a big meaty prawn. Fish dishes can be quite heavy at times but this was both fresh and filling at the same time.
They pride themselves in the real deal tiramisu and I can see why… Beautifully presented in an ice cream glass are layers of whipped mascarpone cheese and savoiardi biscuits that have been soaked in a rich lashing of quality coffee and marsala. Dusted with cocoa powder and adorned with fresh strawberries, this is the perfect way to finish an evening at La Fontana. For Italian lovers or people who appreciate good quality no fuss food, then this is the place to head to next!
The Gingerman Pub
The Gingerman is the go to place to experience a truly traditional Irish pub. Bang in the center of town, it is warm and inviting with a dark woody theme running throughout. Oozing with character, it’s such a joy to sit back and relax on comfy leather cushioned seats.
They pride themselves in serving good quality pub grub at a very competitive price, every dish is 11euro or under. Their most popular dishes are a creamy chowder and chicken goujons served with chips, salad and coleslaw. Their bar is stocked with every drink you could think of, so order some grub and a boozy bevy and have yourself a toasty little afternoon!
Carters Chocolate Cafe Waterford
Just underneath No 9 is Carter’s cafe. Specialising in arguably one of the best hot chocolates I have ever slurped, they pride themselves in using high quality Belgian Callebaut chocolate in a ratio of 50% chocolate and 50% whole milk. Topped with campfire like toasted marshmallows, you are guaranteed a delicious and warming trip to chocolate heaven! I would urge you to put these guys on top of your list of things to do while down in this neck of the woods… Yep that good!
An intimate coffee house just off the main street, it’s serving up some of Waterford’s finest coffee, teas and chai! I tried a delicious chai latte with soy milk. It was well balanced, not too sweet as I usually find them but just right with the perfect amount of spice. The coffee is superb. They use Irish roasted Badger & Dodo and specialise in ‘Single Origin coffee both through the Espresso Machine and as a Pour Over’.
There baristas work on a volunteer basis as ‘Portico Coffee is owned by a local Christian Church in Waterford City’, how cool! They also have decadently rich chocolate brownies that are to die for so head in, grab a hot bevy and tuck into a naughty mid day treat!
Where gin meets the south east coast, Davy Macs is going to make you one happy traveler if you’re into this al la mode spirit and if you’re not I doubt you’ll find it hard to be convinced! The first ever dedicated gin bar in the south east, Davy Macs won the Irish over by serving up the best expressions of gin throughout the Emerald Isle. They were awarded the best place to have a classic fresh gin and tonic. If that wasn’t glorious enough, their Apple Market cocktail featuring the Drumshanbo Gunpowder gin mixed with liquor 43 which adds vanilla, mixed spice and citrus notes, fresh squeezed lemon and apple juice juice and mint was also crowned best gin cocktail in Ireland.
The cocktail is absolutely stunning – fresh with zing, I adored it. The classic gin and tonic was mind blowing. Being gin-obsessed myself, I felt so privileged to have had the chance to taste a truly superb selection of gin from Davy Macs eighty two varieties. I knocked back four, so there’s much more time needed to be spent down there… But in the meantime, we shot a Facebook live with mixologist James and manager Alan, so I can savour it until the next time and sway you with a seriously fresh notion of the place! So head on over here to take a look and get an idea of what to expect next time you head to Waterford…
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