The Bay Tree, a Coeliac Friendly Restaurant
Regular readers to The Life of Stuff will know that the majority of the restaurants and café’s I blog about are in Dublin. It’s a foodie mecca, and is so close to home that it’s hard not to. However there are umpteen foodie gems outside of our main cities. They are found in towns and villages around the country, with most famous locally for what they do right.
Take for example the Canal Café in Vicarstown, Co. Laois. Last year when I visited it was only open a week but my review post on it went down a treat. With hundreds and hundreds of shares, the post went viral. It was even requested by a local paper, which I agreed to, after all the reason I wrote the review (and all my reviews) in the first place was to spread good word about it, apart from being a customer it’s the best way I can show my support.
This year I plan on featuring lots more of these gems and where better to start than my hometown of Athy in Co. Kildare …
The Bay Tree – Stanhope Street, Athy, Co. Kildare
The Bay Tree is a coeliac friendly restaurant located off the main square of Athy, known as Emily Square. It’s open seven days a week for breakfast and lunch, and selected nights for Tapas. It’s the ideal spot to visit if you’re a tourist visiting the Shackleton Museum at the Heritage Centre or the Athy Waterways for boating, fishing or the TriAthy.
Of course you don’t have to be a tourist to pay a visit and that will be evident when you do, because although a gem, it certainly isn’t a ‘hidden gem’ … it’s well-known in the town and surrounding areas for not only offering great food and service to all its customers but also offering some of the best variety of cakes and treats to its coeliac customers.
I don’t have an intolerance to gluten (as far as I know) but I know those who do and tiptoeing around a menu when dining out can be hard, if not impossible especially when it comes to dessert time. To offer coeliacs the opportunity to dine out with family and friends without worrying about the menu, is offering a community something special indeed and one that should be applauded.
I’ve dined there for breakfast and lunch on many occasions with family. The restaurant is spread over two floors. Personally I prefer to sit downstairs either near the open fire or the windows that look out onto the street.
The staff are great and I’ve always felt welcomed. The menu offers something for everyone without being overly extensive. Breakfast there is a winner and I’ve tried and tested most items on the menu from their Full Irish to French Toast.
Lunch, and my tried and tested favourites (so far) are; the Indian Style Chicken Gourmet flatbread – spicy chicken with coriander mango yogurt and spicy wedges, the Thai Style Fish Cakes with sweet chilli dressing, the Fish & Chips and the Prime Irish Burger with wedges and coleslaw.
For desserts and cakes … well I couldn’t possibly choose a favourite. Those I’ve tried have been delicious and those I haven’t look delicious. Their prices range but are competitive. From my experience there’s a consistency in the quality of the dishes I’ve been served which is very important to me. I haven’t experienced their dinner menu or Tapas Night but plan to in the future.
Owned and run by Michael Smith and Tony Dempsey, The Bay Tree will be celebrating nine years in business this year. Although both work the front of shop throughout the working week, Michael takes the reigns when it comes to the financial side of things and Tony takes the reigns in the kitchen, developing menus and working on cakes and pastries.
The Bay Tree’s dedication to offering coeliac customers foodie options and cakes stems from the fact that Michael is a coeliac. While researching for The Bay Tree’s menu, Tony realised that the food offerings in restaurants for Michael were basically non-existent and consisted of fruit salads. Determined to offer coeliac customers to The Bay Tree a varied menu, Tony went about developing cakes and pastries that could be enjoyed by everyone. Now they are renowned for it and The Bay Tree.
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