Connemara jewel where great ingredients are king
The Misunderstood Heron: a food truck in the most spectacular of settings
When Reinaldo Seco came from Chile to Connemara to work in Mary and Jamie Young’s Killary Adventure Company just beyond the village of Leenaun along the Killary fjord, it was supposed to be a short-term stay. Instead, he met Kim Young, who was also working at her parents’ adventure centre that summer. Young and Seco have been inseparable ever since. Together they’ve travelled the world but they kept coming back to the corner of Connemara that first brought them together.
In Easter of 2017, the pair opened the shutters of the Misunderstood Heron, a food truck that sits on the edge of Killary Harbour in north Connemara, looking out on one of only three fjords in Ireland. Across the water is Mayo and in the water between are the famous Killary Fjord mussels. Young and Seco’s friend, the carpenter Martin Hughes, built the outdoor picnic benches and the wooden facade which helps this food truck blend beautifully into its environment.
Those Killary Fjord mussels (€8.50) are on the menu, too, as are Killary lamb samosas (€3.50), made with lamb from the Killary Sheep Farm less than a 10-minute coastal drive away from the food truck. The lamb samosas are sensational parcels of filo pastry stuffed with succulent shreds of spiced lamb meat, served alongside some really good homemade pickled cucumber and onion.
Tasty chicken is sandwiched between slices of deliciously moist seeded brown bread (€4 per sandwich). The bread is baked fresh by Young, and the green salad leaves in the sandwiches come from Young’s mother’s garden. They’re wrapped in baking paper and twine, perfect for hikers. “At the moment, we’re local where possible,” explains Kim, “but we would eventually love to have everything sourced from within 20 km radius.”
A flaky pastry quiche is topped with tomatoes, goat’s cheese, pomegranate and kale (€5) and a yummy pastie is stuffed with a creamy chorizo filling. For dessert, there is a small selection of cakes such as carrot (€2.80 a slice) and a banoffi pie (€3). Thin oat biscuits dipped in chocolate (€1.50) make a great accompaniment to our coffee to go.
Reinaldo whips up two excellent flat whites (€2.50) made with Cloudpicker coffee. Frank Kavanagh and Peter Sztal sent a barista trainer down to the food truck to help Seco and Young get the most out of the coffee beans, roasted in Dublin.
So, what’s behind the name? Well, their logo is a little heron wearing wellington boots and carrying an umbrella. Kim tells me the story she created for the brand. “Other herons might think he’s a bit strange, but he’s really just misunderstood. He wears the wellies and carries the umbrella because he doesn’t like to get wet.” So there you have it.
The legislation around setting up a food truck in Ireland is currently quite a prohibitive and lengthy process. The Misunderstood Heron resides on private land which has enabled them to set up shop in this most spectacular of settings. Young and Seco have followed their dream of living in this beautiful part of Ireland, while not compromising on their food offering. They’ve got an eye to what will please the locals but their focus on great ingredients and slightly unexpected specialities, such as those delicious Killary lamb samosa, really makes them to stand out.
Give yourself a reason to head west this summer and make sure a visit to The Misunderstood Heron is on your itinerary.
The Misunderstood Heron, Derrynacleigh, Leenaun, Co Galway. 087-9915179 www.facebook.com/misunderstoodheron Open Wednesday – Sunday 11am to 6pm