Russells Bar and Fish Shop
Nothing is better than that moment when you shatter the batter that encases a piece of perfectly fresh, perfectly fried fish. And providing that magic moment is what Viv Kelly and his crew are doing each and every day, in Russell’s Bar and Fish Shop in Doolin. Viv Kelly’s cooking in Russell's, part of the funky Fiddle & Bow Hotel in the centre of the village is clean, soulful and satisfying: savvy cooking, feel-good food, fail-safe food. Viv's mastery of the art of the fryer means that he offers fried foods - scampi: battered fish, calamari and southern fried chicken – which never taste fried.
Instead they have crunch, contrast, and a deep, clean clarity of taste. Kelly isn’t reinventing the wheel: he is simply firing out fab food, and Russell’s was a vital address in Doolin during lockdown, when the queue at Russell’s Fish Shop would stretch right down the street.
His cooking shows his own experience - Kelly has been doing the good thing in Doolin from his early days in The Lazy Lobster - and also his mature judgement: every plate he sends out has what it needs, and no more.
Many people visiting the restaurant will recognise Darren Ryan, who runs the room, from his time in the Armada Hotel, at Spanish Point - another County Clare landmark. Together, Viv and Darren are a mighty duo, dedicated to doing the good thing. Russell’s is a blast.