Repurposing the Idle Wall of Westport

The Idle Wall restaurant in Westport will open its doors for business next Tuesday. Barbara Collins grabbed a chat with Chef Proprietor Aine Maguire as she was putting the finishing touches to the place.

“It’s just hectic at the moment. You know that feeling when you wish there were three of you?” says Aine Maguire.

She’s taken over the former Quay Cottage near the entrance to Westport House and re-named it the Idle Wall, after the nearest landmark – the wall which dockers would wait at to be employed.

Aine is a native of nearby Newport, who has made her way back home to the west after being the Executive Chef at the British Embassy in Dublin. She is still the Executive Chef at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre Private Members Club.

She’s focusing on the food of the Western Way, particularly seafood. Aine’s initial take on Killary rope mussels will be to do them classically with cider, shallots and bacon. She’ll only have the native Clew Bay oysters till the end of April.

“I won’t be mucking about with them,” says Aine. “They’ll come with Tabasco, lemon and butter to let them shine.”

Like many in her league, cheaper cuts like oxtail appears on the sample menu in a bone broth with curly parsley (flat leaf is so 2000s) and there are lots of on trend treatments like crispy fried duck eggs, and peat smoked and long roasted onions.

“I like making the most of vegetables and using local produce like the Carrowholly nettle cheese,” says Aine.

“I’ve also gone for comforting desserts like cream goody of brioche, burnt sugar, cream and whiskey, but I have also put on a few surprises like the caraway and vinegar currant cake.”


Dockers waiting at the idle wall. Source.

Décor-wise, it’s pared back to reveal a beautiful cottage interior. The wood panelled walls have been painted a soft dove grey. There’s an oyster bar in the centre. The garden room at the back can seat up to 25 for private dining.

For more information on the Idle Wall Restaurant, visit their website. The Idle Wall will open for dinner Tuesday-Saturday from 5.30pm-10pm.

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