Stitch and Bear

A long-running Irish blog with reviews of the best restaurants in Dublin and throughout Ireland. Some wine and cocktails thrown in for good measure!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

O'Brien Chop House, Lismore, Co Waterford

Back in early December 2011, we found ourselves driving between Cork and Waterford. As we passed by Youghal, I saw roadsigns for Lismore, reminding me that I was yet to visit O'Brien Chop House (which has been open since 2009). Being a creature who demands immediate satisfaction in matters of food, we quickly decided that lunch in Lismore would be a very fine idea indeed.

Lismore is a beautiful town, sitting on the Blackwater river at the foot of the Knockmealdown mountains. Old shopfronts have been preserved and the entire town just breathes history and tradition. O'Brien Chop House is itself located on the premises of an old Victorian pub. As you push open the narrow wooden door, and walk across the tiled entrance, you will find yourself in a piece of old traditional Ireland. The original bar, shelving and snug have all been maintained, while the dining room extends out to the rear.

After ordering, we received selection of freshly baked breads served with a pat of Glenilen Farm butter. The breads were excellent, and it's really nice to see farmhouse butter starting to appear in different restaurants. The menu at O'Brien's regularly features a fizz and on our visit, spiced apple fizz was a nod to the season (3.50). Elderflower fizz also features frequently, thanks to abundant crops which need to be used and frozen.

Selection of fresh breads & butter
Pork crackling popcorn
We ordered a portion of pork crackling popcorn as a snack while waiting for our mains. Little puffs of crackling came served in an old, battered pewter cup lightly dusted with paprika and sea salt (2.50). To be honest, we found them somewhat compulsive eating.

We shared one of the daily special starters - Dry aged McGrath's beef steak tartare (12.50). This was served with a stunning yellow duck egg yolk sitting on top. Once the yolk was broken and mixed through the meat, we was found the tartare to be wonderfully flavoursome with a smooth, dense texture. Delicious stuff.

Steak tartare with duck egg yolk
My main course was Ballyvolane House Saddleback pork chops, apple and onion jam with pan juices (21.50), while he chose another special, pan-fried ray wing with lemon and caper butter (19.90). Wonderful roast winter root vegetables and a portion of fries accompanied our mains. The ray wing was a simple piece of cooking with plenty of firm, meaty flesh and it caused us both to wonder why ray wing isn't featured more frequently on restaurant menus. The pork chops were substantial, with the pink hue that comes with really good pork. Despite all this, the roast root vegetables were the stars of the show. Piled high in a blue & white china bowl, they were warming and hearty with all the goodness of the roasting pan.

Ballyvolane House saddleback pork chop

Pan-fried ray wing
O'Brien Chop House sources local, seasonal produce, with an in-house garden kitchen. On the day we visited, the menu featured a special of whole, roast mallard, and I gained much amusement watching a fellow diner wield a knife to the whole duck. Although the duck may have lost the battle to the gamekeeper, it was definitely managing to defeat my neighbour. As we left through the old bar, I imagined myself back again, only this time in the evening, and with a local beer in hand. O'Brien Chop House draws you back, it's that kind of place.

O'Brien Chop House, Lismore, Co Waterford
Tel: +353 (0)58 53 810
Twitter: @obrienchophouse


O'Brien Chop House said...

Thank you so much for dining at O'Brien Chop House. Glad you enjoyed it and thank you for sharing your experience via your blog. Please come and see us again soon.

Best wishes,

Justin Green

Ballyvolane House
O'Brien Chop House

Anonymous said...

A group of 10 of us decided to go out to O Briens chop house for dinner back in november. Everyone of us were so disappointed with the menu first of all and the price of our meal. For myself I had to go for the special on the board as none of the starters were to my taste. €12.50 is what i had to pay for this. I ordered the lamb cutlet for main and I was disappointed to be greeted with more fat than lamb!! I think the menu needs alot more options and maybe a drop in prices too!

dudara said...

Justin - thanks for the comment.

Anon - wow, it sounds like you had a different experience. But I'm glad you commented. Restauranteurs should be open to receiving all feedback, both bad and good.

Susan Byron said...

We had an excellent meal here last november and would have no hesitation in recommending the O'Brien Chop House for all of the reasons outlined by Stitch and Bear, mind you we missed out on the Crackling Popcorn for some reason?

Anonymous said...

Last Summer three friends went to the Chop House for dinner - one starter was very dissappointing - a lump of cream cheese on the middle of a plate with three pieces of beetroot around it - thats all! It should have been presented better, maybe on a bed of lettuce. For the price that we paid for our meal that evening I am sorry that we did not complain and it would not entice me to go back which is sad as I am a local in Lismore

Justin Green said...

Dear Anons,

Thank you very much for dining with us and for your valuable feedback. I am very sorry to hear about your disappointing experiences at O'Brien Chop House. Please contact myself or the Restaurant Manager Richard Reeve directly via as we would like to investigate your comments and revert back with our findings. We would also like to make amends. We are always striving to improve our offering and your comments and feedback are very important to us. Thanks again.

Kind regards,

Justin Green
Proprietor, O'Brien Chop House

Sheila Bagliani said...

A friend and I had lunch in the chop house .It was a place I wanted to try for ages so we drove from Woodstown about 40 miles. I must say we really enjoyed it. I like the decor ,the staff were pleasant and the food was good ,so good that we ate far too much . My only quibble would be the price. We had an inexpensive bottle of wine between us so we weren't drunk but when I came across the bill receipt a month later I did say to myself I must have been mad how could I have spent so much on lunch!!I would go back and not order so much next time and I do recommend it to friends .it makes a great outing /day trip from anywhere in the south east from Cork to Kilkenny

Jason Martin said...

Haven't seen egg presented in such a way, thanks for sharing.
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