I saw the Oscar-nominated The Banshees of Inisherin a few weeks ago, and it’s been top of mind since. Now, pretty well every review out there mentions the basic plot points, so I don’t feel I am moving into “spoiler” territory when I tell you that it’s about depression, isolation and the need to chop off your own fingers in order to prove how serious you are about wanting to be left alone.
So, of course I am going to reference this five-star film when I write about the city’s newest Irish pub.
I had all 10 fingers when I walked into the newly opened Ashford House Pub, but I did have a digit on my left hand in a splint. I suffered an old-man injury that will make even the clumsiest of you out there whistle with appreciation; I put my mallet finger out of place and tore a tendon… while taking off a sock.
So the Ashford House is so new, there were some still-to-be-hung beer signage by the door, but, I was surprised to see a decent gathering there at about 4:30 p.m. on a Monday, which isn’t what you’d exactly think of as pub prime time. I came alone, without any dull friends.
The Pogues were playing on the sound system, which was a nice touch. I started off with the pork belly bites, which were pretty darn fantastic. The chili maple glaze does exactly what you’d think, it kisses the braised-then-fried cubes of fatty pork with sweetness, and the heat builds as you keep going. It’s pork belly, which is like meat candy, so it makes for a heck of an accompaniment with your pint.
This Irish pub boasts a daily pie special, and the server tells me it’s already become really popular. On this day, a shepherd’s pie is the feature — and I go for it. Now, a shepherd’s pie comes topped with mashed potatoes, but I ordered a side of mash as well, because I’m all for the overkill. When it arrives, I am glad to see that the pie is nowhere close to being a perfect circle; it’s got contours that suggest that it was formed by human hands. The crust is perfectly done, and the meat filling is rich and generous.