A friend told me about this place and, more recently, I saw that Lucinda O’Sullivan thinks this restaurant is amazing and deserving of awards. So we thought to give it a try. I phoned at about five o’clock one Friday evening and secured a table for two for eight thirty.
We arrived punctually and as we walked up the stairs I could detect strong kitchen odours – mainly of frying. And as we entered the room we were greeted by a very noisy restaurant. There is something amiss with the acoustics in here. We were deafened by the noise. The friendly maitre d’ showed us to our table which was close to the open kitchen area (and the smells). We studied the menu which was really keenly priced. I chose the fish cakes with mango salsa and basil/lime aioli for starters and Mr W selected the ham hock with black pudding and puy lentils. And for mains I had a casserole of Irish game (partridge, guinea fowl and venison) and himself had venison steak (€3.00 supplement). We also asked for a jug of water and a bottle of Lelia Grenacha.
The starters arrived promptly and they were excellent. The fish cakes were delicious and perfectly finished on the outside – not too crispy, no scorch marks – just exemplary. The aioli was very tasty and I would have used twice what was served. So far so good! The other starter was equally good. The ham hock and black pudding were succulent and flavoursome.
Once the starters were finished and the plates removed we were quite a while waiting for the the next course to arrive. Probably a bit too long really. However, it was worth the wait. I was served with a very generous pot of casserole alongside my plate of mash and roasted parsnips and caramelised onions. There was more stew than I could manage but Mr W helped me out! His venison (pink) was presented very nicely sliced on a bed of parsnip puree with chunky carrots to the side. The meat was extremely tender.
To finish I had a raspberry creme brulee and himself had apple crumble with home made custard. He was absolutely ecstatic about how wonderful custard was. We didn’t order coffee. The bill amounted to €75.00 before tips. This is incredibly good value for what we had. On the plus side the food here was excellent and the service was efficient. On the minus side the place is really noisy and those kitchen smells clung to our clothing. We picked up my daughter on the way home and as soon as she got into the car she asked why it stank like a chip shop. The clothes I wore that evening all needed to be laundered as a result of the lingering odours. And I was very annoyed about that.