“Fresh Cleggan crab just off the boat.”
Who could resist that? Not us, and especially not if the crab has been prepared by Claire and Alan in Steam Café, in Clifden, Connemara, one of our favourite west coast destinations.
Steam is housed in the Station Yard in Clifden, a short walk from the town centre, and it's the sort of simple space that survives and thrives because Claire and Alan have great taste, and great judgement. Just look at that Cleggan crab on a thick slice of brown bread, with sweet chilli mayo and a crisp salad. It's as good a thing as you could eat on the west coast, sweet, unctuous, saline and subtle, simply perfect.
We first started coming to Steam many years back, when Claire and Alan had first opened and when our children were young, drawn by the impeccable hot chocolates they made, which our kids voted the best in the county and the country. Today, the hot chocolates remain outstandingly fine, but then so is everything else: the salads – beetroot hummus with spiced cauliflower, quinoa and pomegranate; the savory plates – Connemara Smokehouse salmon with couscous; the soups – tomato and coconut ; the sweet things – Malteser cheesecake; the drinks.
And everything is served with punctilious modesty by a charming team who care deeply about the quality and detail of everything they make. Each plate, each cup, offers you an oasis of pleasure.
So make sure to make that little detour down to Station Yard when you are in Clifden. Once Steam is on your radar, it won't vanish into the air.