During the day, Knox, a small, independent-run restaurant in Sligo Town, operates a breakfast and lunch menu but in the evenings (Thursday to Saturday; 6-10pm) it also serves its Knox@Night tapas menu. Located right in the heart of Sligo on O’Connell Street, Knox has quickly built up a loyal customer base since first opening in May 2015. It seems that the town has developed a taste for tapas and booking is advisable as many ‘walk-ins’ were turned away from this popular spot during my recent visit, as there were no available tables.
Our first impressions of the restaurant were good and both Paula - my dining companion for the evening – and I agreed that with its dark decor, wooden tables and ambient lighting, Knox has successfully replicated the feel of authentic Spanish tapas bars. An outside dining-area provides extra space and would be an ideal place, weather conditions permitting, to dine al fresco.
Our waiter advised us to order a couple of dishes each to start but reassured us that we could order more at any time during our meal. He also informed us that the food would not arrive all at once but that each dish would be served as it was cooked. First to arrive was that old tapas stalwart Patatas Bravas (€5) which contained a generous amount of well-seasoned baby potatoes in a spicy tomato sauce along with a garlic aioli. Too often this classic tapas dish can be a bit oily and the potatoes can lack texture but this version was very good and we wolfed down the lot.
Our next dish of Pickled Watermelon, Mint, Poppyseed (€6) provided cooling relief after the spiciness of the patatas bravas and squid as did the Cos, Chicken Skin, Blue Cheese Dressing (€5) which contained nice chunks of creamy blue cheese with crisp leaves of lettuce. A crumb of crispy chicken skin added textural contrast.
Pan-Fried Scallops, Ham Hock Terrine, Crispy Chicken Skin, Apple Gel (€13) was something a little different from the scallop dishes available in so many restaurants these days. Here three plump scallops were served on a discs of ham hock terrine and topped with a crispy chicken skin crumb. I loved the flavour combinations and the way the saltiness of the crumb counterbalanced the sweetness of both the scallops and ham. A slick of tangy, slightly acidic apple gel completed the dish.
|Cos, Chicken Skin, Blue Cheese Dressing|
With ‘you only live once attitudes’ we decided to order another couple of dishes. Slow Roast Pork Belly, Black Pudding, Apple, Carrot & Anise (€11) was a huge hit with both of us. Well-rendered and meltingly soft pork belly still managed to have a crispy skin and was deeply satisfying to eat, but it was the accompanying deep-fried black pudding bon-bons that had made us groan with delight. With their crunchy bread-crumb coating and soft but full-flavoured meaty centres, they were heavenly.
We finished with something sweet and as the evening was warm and dry asked whether we could conclude our meal at one of the outside tables. Our request was granted without any bother and we spent an enjoyable hour chatting together outside as we watched passers-by and ate our desserts. My Churros, Chocolate Sauce, Vanilla Bean Ice-Cream, Crushed Praline (€7) was, like the rest of our meal, well made and with my sweet tooth, I thought it was fabulous. Paula’s Salted Caramel Liquor Affogato (€8) was also excellent and a sophisticated way to finish the meal.
32 O’Connell Street