Monday, August 22, 2011


Review of Country Kitchen, Killarney, Co. Kerry


We dined here on the 21st August 2011

Ev and myself took a romantic trip to the Kingdom of Ireland (County Kerry for all our American viewers - never thought I would have the pleasure of writing that!! Thanks for visiting guys!)

We were staying in the superb Dunloe Castle hotel just outside Killarney on a SuperValue Getaway break - amazing deals which I would really recommend!

Anyway… we had settled into the hotel, seen the Gap of Dunloe and decided to drive into Killarney for some grub.

After consulting with Tripadvisor we found Chapter Forty was ranked no.1 in Killarney, which unfortunately turned out to be closed… L On our walk back to the Main Street we stumbled upon what appeared to be a bakery/deli.  There was a mountain of fresh sausage rolls and scones on the counter and a notice advertising 3 courses for €20 from the FULL Menu as opposed to the traditionally limited early bird menu.

Upon entering the premises we (unlike other patrons!) adhered to the “Please wait to be seated” sign and were greeted by the young and enthusiastic Shane, who we later discovered was the proprietor of this relatively new establishment. He asked had we brought wine, and suggested that we take advantage of the BYOB perk of the restaurant. Sheahans Off Licence 2 doors down was recommended and we availed of a 10% discount card- #WINNING!

We got ourselves a “good-value” Australian Chardonnay for €10 (€9 with the discount J) and brought it back to the restaurant to be refrigerated. BYOB is a great idea and with only €2 corkage makes eating and boozing out more affordable. Also on a “Go Team Ireland” note, it was great to see local businesses working together.

The Grub:

Starters:
Having seen another table’s starters be delivered, we both instantly agreed upon the Chicken and Bacon Caesar Salad to start.


We thought the portion was generous, the dressing was anchovy-ee and there was plenty of chicken. There could have been more Parmesan but on the whole it was a delicious starter.

Mains:

Matt ordered the Cockle..lol and Muscle Tagliatelle with Tiger Prawns which was served in a creamy, garlicy, lemony sauce. It also came with fresh parsley and a slice of lemon for the citrus whores among us.
It was fresh and tasty and came loaded with 6 Large Tiger Prawns. The garlic and muscles worked really well together and the pasta was on the nicer side of al dente.



Ev ordered the Roast Chicken which was described on the menu as being “Lemon and lime glazed… and served with thyme stuffing baked potatoes and seasonal vegetables”

What actually arrived was something akin to something your granny would make you. In the words of Roy Keane, all credit to granny’s dinners, but it wasn’t really what Ev was expecting. There was a teaspoon of stuffing on the plate and the seasonal veg consisted of 5 carrot discs and a bit of broccoli and cauliflower.




The baked potatoes were replaced with bland mash which needed a good bit of butter and the chicken which was juicy lacked the citrus zesting it claimed. Oh, and there was gravy as well.. obv! Ev enjoyed her dinner as she always does in her granny’s but was a little let down when compared to Matt’s dinner and what was described on the menu.

Dessert:

Unlike many of our previous posts and restaurant experiences, the dessert was a genuine high point which isn’t surprising given the fact that Country Kitchen is a bakery by day.

We ordered a homemade Apple Crumble, heated with Ice Cream and a Chocolate Cake also served with ice cream. (we asked Shane to heat this as well and he obliged, even though he had never been asked to do this before) They were both delicious, the apple crumble was crunchy and lightly coated with sugar which was almost caramelised. It was sweet and warm and homely.



The chocolate cake wasn't too heavy as many chocolate desserts can be. Instead it was fresh and spongy complimented perfectly by vanilla ice cream.

Overall Impression:

There were 2 main courses and one starter that were unavailable on the Sunday night we visited. Ev thought that it would have been a nice touch to have one or two alternatives on offer, but having said this there were still plenty of choice on the menu so it didn’t bother us.

It is clearly a popular place, 10 tables were occupied in the 90 minutes we were there, a great feat to achieve as there were only 12 tables total in the restaurant.

The service was excellent during our meal, but it would have been interesting to see how they coped with a full house given how few staff were present.

Shane is an excellent host, full of wit and character who made us feel at home and among friends with our fellow diners, many of whom engaged in conversation with neighbouring tables throughout the meal.

To conclude, this was a great value dinner served in a cosy venue with a friendly atmosphere and a great host. The bill totalled €48.50 which included 2 tea’s and a portion of bread and the aforementioned corkage.

A couple of minor improvements and this place is winning awards.

**Guys if you have any suggestions of places to go or ways we can improve our blog please leave a comment below!! Thanks J**

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Monday, August 15, 2011

Review of Las Rada Tapas Bar, Naas, Co. Kildare



Having consulted with Tripadvisor, to which I believe we are all indebted, we noticed that the number one restaurant in Naas was Las Rada the Tapas Bar on the Newbridge road. Matt, having recently returned from Puerto Banus and also from a Tapas Course at Dublin Cookery School, was eager to celebrate his birthday Spanish style. Matt and Ev were kindly treated to a birthday dinner courtesy of Matt’s parents (cheers folks!!):

First Impressions:

When you walk through the doors, you are met with a heavy velvet curtain, which when drawn leads to an intimate and atmospheric dining experience with Spanish music and décor. We listened to Rodrigo Y Gabriella while we contemplated the Tapas Menu which was tiered in 3 price levels of €5, €6 and €6.50. A cocktail menu and wine list was also supplied.


Drinks:

We ordered 3 Cosmopolitans and 1 Mojito. They were a bit heavy on the ice and light on booze, but were tasty all the same for €6.

The Meal:

We started off by ordering 2 Tapas each… so 10 plates!! After that we ordered another 8 which filled us up nicely!

The food was served as it was cooked and was promptly delivered by friendly staff. The portions were pretty decent (3 Samosas, 2 Fishcakes etc) and most were accompanied with an individual dipping sauce. Apologies about the lack of photos on this post guys, the iPhone was on the fritz and we were starving!!

We ordered:
  • ·        Bruschetta
  • ·        Chicken Satay
  • ·        Fish Cakes
  • ·        Samosa
  • ·        Figs and Goats Cheese
  • ·        Monkfish
  • ·        Patatas Bravas
  • ·        Calamari
  • ·        King Prawn Tempura
  • ·        Nachos with Beef & Cheese
  • ·        Cod Gratin

The food was simple and hearty, cooked with fresh ingredients and delivered faster than a take away!

Our Favourites:

Matt thought the Fishcakes were excellent, with their crunchy exterior and a spicy coriander fish filling. This combined with its dipping sauce made this generously apportioned dish a winner.

Ev’s favourites were the Bruschetta and Samosas.  The Bruschetta was filling.  The tomatoes were ripe, and not at all bitter, with a simple basil and balsamic vinaigrette dressing.  Yum.  It also came cut in half already to make sharing easier (this can be good and bad). J The spiced chicken Samosas were each a generous size, served with a Moroccan dip.  The pastry was crisp and light, and the filling flavoursome.  A winner all round!

The Satay was another noteworthy plate, enjoyed by all... perhaps why we bought 3 of them!


Overall:


This is a great find for Naas. The Tapas was very good and reasonably priced. We had a great time and enjoyed the music and atmosphere. The only issue we had was the watery cocktails.

Review of Roly's Bistro, Ballsbridge,


Having been to Roly’s for the first time last September to celebrate Matt’s graduation with his family, we finally returned for a second visit last weekend.  We had been meaning to eat there for ages, and when Matt found out he had gotten a job (#winning), I thought I should treat him to a lovely luncheon in the intimate surroundings of Roly’s Bistro in Ballsbridge. 

They offer a set lunch menu at a price of €23 for 3 courses – bargain – so we booked in on Saturday afternoon for this.  I was very impressed that they ran this special offer on Saturdays.  The restaurant was very busy when we arrived, as it always seems to be, which we took as a good sign!  We wanted to test the adage that ‘you’ll never get a bad meal in Roly’s.’

Starters

To start, Matt ordered the Thai Fishcakes.  The portion was generous, including two large fishcakes, a side salad and a dressing of smooth sweet chilli sauce.  The fishcakes were, in the words of Matthew, “fantastic:” the breadcrumb coating was light and crisp, the fish was “hearty” and the sauce complemented it very well.



I had the Chicken Spring Roll to start, which was served with noodles.  The portion was fine, but looking at Matt’s two fishcakes, I would have liked if there was another spring roll!  It was very tasty, however, and the chicken and veg filling was crunchy.  The noodle accompaniment was simple but it worked!


Main Courses

Matt, for the first time EVER, ordered…wait for it…THE VEGETARIAN OPTION.  This committed meat-lover (lol) ordered the pappardelle pasta with shitake mushrooms, rocket and parmesan in a cream sauce. At first he found it rich and flavoursome, with the mushrooms adding a subtle crunch; however, this was later overpowered by the rocket, and perhaps, in his humble opinion, the pasta was too al dente.  …I liked it though! J



I ordered the chicken wrapped in parma ham, served on a bed of creamy mash with peas and gravy, but not gravy as we know it.  I’m not a pea-lover but this dish was delicious. 


Side dishes of pureed carrot, boiled potatoes with bacon and chives, and cabbage with white onion sauce were served with our main courses.  All the veg was tasty, but personally, I found the potatoes too hard.



Desserts

Matt ordered the strawberry ice-cream on a homemade shortbread cookie.  Again, the portion was generous; The ice-cream was light and refreshing, almost like a sorbet, and the cookie rich and crumbly…if that makes sense!



I ordered the crème brulee, served with Vanilla ice-cream and garnished with mint. I really enjoyed this dessert and the ice cream was very good. Matt did wonder though whether it should have been served hot as in when the sugar was browned under the torch? I thought that it being served cool was perfect for me but who knows?



Overall:

As you can see we have taken a crazy amount of pictures for this review. We do think that it is important for people to be able to see the food they eat especially if they are paying good money for it!



We had a fantastic lunch in Roly's and it was very good value. 3 Superb courses for €23 each. We both look forward to the day when Matt can take Ev to Roly's for her celebratory lunch. Roly's is 5***** and possibly the best lunch in Dublin.