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Myos, Main Street, Castleknock, Dublin 15

Myos, Castleknock

Made a flying visit to Mount Sackville College, not far from Castleknock, to do a measure up. Was not there long and as Myos was a prominent feature opposite the Topaz garage where I stopped for diesel (15% cheaper than the North) and the car park looked pretty full I decided that it couldn’t be too bad for a spot of lunch.

An alcove

Entering the large open plan bar area the response to my query as to the availability of a sandwich was that there was only the carvery at lunchtime.

In for a penny in for a pound; I went round to the counter. There were a couple of people ahead of me so I got a chance to look at the offerings.  The roast beef and bacon joint looked really well but I am wary of the amount of food one is expected to eat: asking for small portions is normally greeted with disbelief  and the request ignored anyway.

Carvery

I looked at the plates (about the size of serving trays) of the persons in front of me and saw that they were piled high with meat, roasted and mashed potato and a selection of vegetables.  If I’d eaten that lot I would have needed to sleep for the afternoon!

I settled for the peppered beef with rice and turned down the offer of vegetables and potato on the side! As it was it would have fed a family.

One could not complain about the quality or the quantity.  They serve decent quality food at a reasonable price (€10.00 for the carvery).

As for clientèle; amongst others there was a party of three young mothers with their children, a couple of local businessmen, a construction crew and the architect and the principal of the college. Not a bad mix for a Tuesday lunchtime.

Rochestown Park Hotel, Rochestown, Cork

Rochestown Park Hotel

The Rochestown Park is another of my favourite haunts on the South Coast.  It is quite a while since I was last there as business needs made the Blarney Park (unfortunately now closed down) or the Carrigaline Court more convenient.  As it was my appointment was in Curraheen,  just off the south circular road as is the hotel.

Last time I boooked in they were looking €120 a night and it is now back to €89 for B&B, a sign of the times.  Having said this they were fully booked which cannot be bad for mid-week.

The rooms are “old world” with plent of space, mine had an L shaped desk with Leather swivel chair as well as the usual dressing table, combined ironing board and trouser press, tea and coffee, etc. etc. Free WIFI as well.

The leisure centre

They have an excellent leisure suite and pool plus a spa which, due to time constraints, I did not get round to using on this trip.

I went for an evening meal in the Sutton Bar rather than the main restaurant. They have quite a good menu and I picked on the duck breast with oriental vegetables and noodles.  The duck was well cooked but I felt that the sauce/glaze was a little too reliant on 5 spice powder.  The vegetables were very good but relied too heavily on various coloured peppers for the volume, whereas I would have preferred a little more in the line of water chestnuts and bamboo shoots.  What I did like was that they served the noodles seperately in a bowl so that one could mix in the sauce as one wanted.  They have quite a good line in wines by the half bottle.

Sutton Bar

The bar was really busy but they have service very well organised with waiters and waitresses allocated to specific areas of around a dozen tables (you may guess the overall size) and you get typical Cork service with a smile and a chat.

I had a fairly early night and was up early for breakfast; there was a notice in the lift suggesting that, due to the number of people in residence this would be a good idea. There was plenty of fruit and a comprehensive selection for an Irish breakfast. My only complaint would be that the cold table consisted of chorizo and a rather bland cheese, not a sign of Irish ham or smoked salmon, which was rather disappointing.  Never mind the tea and toast was most acceptable.

If you want a good hotel on the south side of the City with perfect access to routes out to West Cork then you could do far worse than this.

An Poitin Stil, Naas Road, Rathcoole, County Dublin

I  been calling into An Poitin Stil, classed as a heritage Irish Pub, for as long as I have been travelling to Cork and Limerick, which must be at least 15 years.  In all that time it has never let me down as a place where you are served good food and drink efficiently and with a smile.

You can always find a space in the busy car park and no matter what time you arrive there is a menu to suit. Their latest promotion is the 5 to 10 (p.m) menu  with all starters at €5 and all mains at €10. Examples: starter – Mussels in white wine sauce, main – Grilled Pork Chop and Apple Sauce.

On this trip I just opted for the Seafood Chowder and a coffee to keep me going until I got to the Rochestown Park Hotel not far from Cork city. More of that in the next post.

VILLAGE HOTEL NORTH, LEEDS

Village Hotel, Otley Road, Leeds

Flew over to Leeds for a couple of meetings with suppliers and after a trip out to Skipton and a tour of Leeds University ended up for lunch at the Village Hotel North, on the Otley Road about 8 miles from Leeds/Bradford airport. 

Very smart looking building and big airy foyer.  The receptionist recommended the bar rather than the restaurant.  This has two big screens showing Sky Sports News, luckily without any sound.  They also have smaller screens with the hotel channel showing easy  listen music videos. 

The menu is pretty extensive with all the usual “pub-grub”, burgers etc.  One chooses and then goes to the bar to order. My only concern would be that they take your credit card off you and keep it behind the bar in a glass.  In these days of credit card and identity fraud personnaly I would not be too happy about this. but my companion did not seem concerned. Trusting crowd Yorkshire people (and not a bad thing either I suppose). 

My associate does not indulge in red meat and chose the chicken burger and chips and, as he was driving, blackcurrant and lemonade.  For myself  the spaghetti with meatballs in a lightly spiced tomato sauce and a glass of Sangiovese. 

Cheerful service, very good food, inexpensive and a big car park. If you can live with the credit card problem – or get them to process it when you order – a good place to eat.

Killymaddy Tourist Information Centre

Killymaddy Restaurant

 

From Belfast Killymaddy TIC is about 7 miles to the west of Dungannon on the lefthand side of th main A4. I have stopped there many times over the past few years for coffee or a snack.  It has recently been revamped and includes a craft and knicknack shop and manned (or rather womanned) information desk.  They have the most comprehensive collection of brochures and leaflets covering both local Tyrone attractions and the rest of Northern Ireland and the borders.   They also havae a very comprehensive and free  “Where to Eat” in Ireland booklet. 

As far as the restaurant goes there is a good variety of dishes including the staples of burgers and fries.  On this occasion I was on my back from a round trip to Sligo (again) and had an excellent bacon and mushroom omelette and chips.  It was much needed as the café at which I normally get breakfast on the outward journey had had nothing prepared.   

Another plus is the clean toilets, hot water and paper towels (there are hot air dryers if you are into that kind of thing) 

Picnic Area

 

The Centre from the carpark

Aug 5, 2010 - Eating Out, The Jacksons    No Comments

Headlight Bulb Change

Took the car into Agnew’s to get the headlight bulb changed at lunchtime.  Took them an hour and charged £25.00.  Still they have a great buffet in the showroom; sandwiches, sausage rolls, fresh fruit and cream slices, selection of coffees, teas and newspapers.  They also have very attractive staff. Time well spent.

Fitzpatrick’s, Rockmarshall, Jenkinstown, Co Louth

Fitzpatrick's

My good friends the Rankin’s called into the office to  discuss a piece of furniture and having finalised the design requirements, plus me having slipped a chair in to the equation, they invited me to join them for lunch. The idea was to test the newly opened Newry Bypass and get to Fitzpatrick’s Restaurant in record time. This of course did not take into account the erroneous reporting that the last section of the bypass had opened at eleven o’clock!  It hadn’t!  Looking across to the northbound carriageway it seemed that this had been opened at about 13.03.

The potting shed

On previous trips down the Carlingford road I do not recall getting past the Ballymascanlon Hotel so was amazed to be introduced to the Irish answer to the “Traditional Irish Pub” a couple of kilometres further down the road.

The bicycle park

Arriving in the car park at first glance Fitzpatrick’s appears as the picture book example of the rural farmhouse style building with whitewashed walls and slate roof.  The adjoining courtyard boasts a plethora of flowers growing in pots which are set in anything from bicycle baskets to a van engine compartment.  Of course there is also the regulation horse and donkey in the adjacent paddock. I actually thought that the donkey was a cast model until it brayed!

Once one enters it appears as the Irish answer to the ubiquitous “Irish Bar”, at least one of which is to be found in every major city round the world.  Every available inch of wall, cill and beam sports period adverts, pictures and artefacts.

The amazing thing is that it works without ever seeming to be “over the top”.

Every available space!

We were taken to our table by a young lady who was certainly not indigenous but who was definitely very well trained. She took our drinks order and provided us with menus.  At first glance it occurred to me that anyone who can include “Almost famous French Onion Soup” and “Now Famous Chicken Wings” as offerings is certainly worth a try.
Helen and I picked the Whole Baked Sea Trout on seared courgettes with Hollandaise sauce, with chips on the side, from the “day’s specials” menu whilst Trevor went for the sausages with champ and onion gravy.

The fish was cooked to perfection, just firm, and the chips were golden crisp; how do they do that?  The courgettes were melt in the mouth and the Hollandaise sauce complemented it all perfectly. Not only that but there was a serving of vegetables  as well:  cauliflower, broccoli, mange tout, carrots and green beans. All of which managed to be cooked “just so”.

Trevor report his sausage ring to be excellent and the same for the champ and gravy.

We finished up with a couple of standard coffees.

Not just any loo!

The Gents loo is also worth a mention as it resembles a Victorian apothecary’s. Beware the hand dryers which are designed to remove the skin along with the water!

We returned to Belfast via the now opened Newry Bypass. Unfortunately no-one was offering gifts for being one of the first 1000 cars.

Having said this there were lots of police out with little books and those flashy black things they are so fond of pointing at people.

No doubt we will revisit this excellent hostlery at some point in the not too distant future.

Manor Restaurant, Manorhamilton, Co. Leitrim

Last time I was in this restaurant  it was called the “Fillet of Soul”.  It was the brainchild of Master Chef Anthony Armstrong who opened it to much acclaim in ’04  but, according to the waitress, it has been through two reincarnations before settling down as the Manor Restaurant.

I was on my back from Sligo with my designer Kelly, where we had been measuring up a lecture theatre in Sligo IT.  This had involved clambering amongst scaffolding and rubble as, true to form, the contractors promise that it would be completely cleaned out was  a myth.  So by 3 p.m. we were in dire need of sustenance!

It has much the same décor and layout as the last time I was there. Divided into two rooms with comfortable high back fully upholstered chairs it has a welcome feel about it, even on a Monday afternoon.

There were two young ladies at the reception/bar, one of whom I took to be the chef.  Her credentials were the wall in Polish.  We had the choice of tables as it was probably the least busy time of day.

The waitress took our drinks order and brought the menu which was pretty extensive and would cater for all tastes.   There were three “specials”.  One was Special Meatballs and one a tortilla wrap with sautéed potatoes;  I forget the other.  I queried the constituents of the meatballs and was informed that they were made from minced beef with carrot, rice and herbs served with a garlic sauce, mashed potatoes and vegetables. In for a penny, in for a pound!

Kelly chose the Tortilla Wrap. This turned out to be most substantial and was accompanied by about a kilo of sautéed potatoes.  She reckoned that the sauce was splendid and that there was a mass of meat, mushrooms and salad.

The meatballs were delicious and the sauce a perfect complement. The mash was as good as I have had anywhere. If one was to look for a fault then the carrots were a little overdone for my taste but then the cauliflower was just firm.

They do a very good line in red wine by the glass and a glance at the wine list showed that they offer a reasonable selection, none of which are overpriced.

We finished up with instant coffee, not bad at all, accompanied by “After 8s”.

All in including soft drinks for under €30,00.

If you in North Leitrim (about 2 1/2 hours drive from Belfast) visit the beautiful Glencar Waterfall, made famous by Yeats in the poem “The Stolen Child”, and call into the Manor Restaurant to finish the experience.

Jul 19, 2010 - Eating Out    No Comments

La Gondola, 373 Antrim Road, Glengormley

What does one do to cheer onself up on a wet Sunday evening?  Having been to La Gondola in the Olivia Centre, Glengormley, we now have the answer.  It has taken us 7 months to get round to trying this Italian restaurant and I am wondering why.

It does not try to emulate some of the better known Italian restaurants around Belfast city but it is reminiscent of many family Ristorante in urban Italy.

We were welcomed by the waiter, I will get his name next time, and given the menus and a complimentary slice of pizza.  There is not a wine list; they keep one red, a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, one Italian white and one Italian rosé.  Naturally we settled for the red.  You can bring your own at £3.00 for corkage.

The menu is set out Italian style and is kept simple, there are a good selection of starters or a mixed Antipasto. Pasta, chicken or sirloin mains and a selection of tagliatelli dishes. The pizza menu is separate. There is also a Continental Gourmet section.

This had Beef Carpaccio as an option.  I do not normally have a starter but who can resist raw slivers of beef marinaded in lemon with parmesan and crushed black peppercorns? Well not me anyway.

Josephine did side step and just settled for a main of  breast of chicken in a porcini sauce (special wild mushrooms with brandy and cream).  I got a taste of the sauce and it was delicious to say the least.

My main was Tagliatelli Arribiata, smoked bacon and piquant chilli and tomato sauce. I did not leave any!

Luigi, the chef and owner, came and chatted in a mixture of Italian and English but I will not pretend to have understood much of the Italian.  It is one language with which I have never managed to become conversant.

One of the waitresses unfairly slipped a Dolce Menu next to me, but I managed to put off ordering for at least five minutes! There were Crêpes Comedie Francais, which turned out to be two crêpes wrapped around vanilla ice cream and smothered in orange and brandy sauce. Sort of suzette with attitude.

There is no grappa on the drinks menu  but, seeing as it prides itself on being authentic Italian, I was sure that if the question were asked it would be forthcoming.  Right again; and it went down really well with the coffee.

The chef sent us a lemon liquer over and, having chatted him up we got an invite to his table for Monday night when they are holding a Salsa demonstration.

This is a welcome addition to the myriad of Chinise and Indian restaurants in the area.  One hopes it will be supported enough to remain in business.

Jul 16, 2010 - Eating Out    No Comments

Malone House, Barnett Demesne

This is Rose week at Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park so lunch at Malone House just off the Milltown Road, only a stones throw away, seemed like a reasonable option.  Hadn’t been there since the factory moved from the Boucher Road five years ago so was not sure what to expect. It is run by Belfast City Council and is popular for weddings, funerals and conferences; not necessarily in that order. It sits in a pleasant park bordering on the DUB playing fields, which meant the dogs got a walk, and the views from the rear of the building across the Lagan valley are exceptional (hence its popularity for weddings).

The Barnett room, which is the bar/restaurant is cosy and seats about thirty at a push. There were a few tables occupied and a funeral party were in one of the function rooms. This means that the staff were shunting between the two venues so the service was a little slow.

We waited about ten minutes to get menus and were informed that the days special was baked gammon with parsley sauce. We ordered this and a couple of glasses of sauvignon blanc.  The wine, and water, arrived shortly but it was near fifteen minutes before the main course arrived.

There was a substantial slice of gammon and the parsley sauce was rich with cream.  The mashed potato was a good as one would get anywhere and the vegetables, cauliflower, green beans, broccoli  and baby sweetcorn suited my preference for having them undercooked but Josephine felt they were a little bit too much on the raw side.

At £22.90 one could not complain about value for money.

They also do a great line in scones with cream and jam as elevenses or afternoon tea.

P.S. The roses were impressive too!