MEATH

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - SEVEN DAYS | EATING OUT -

CONYN­G­HAM ARMS

Main St, Slane, Co Meath, 041-988 4444,

conyn­g­hamarms.ie ¤ This pas­tel-hued ho­tel on Slane’s Main Street has a neat lit­tle restau­rant tucked down some stairs at the back of the build­ing. The odd-shaped dining room has an open kitchen to the right of the en­trance, with ta­bles loop­ing to the left, around a bar that di­s­ects three small, sep­a­rate rooms.

It’s a sis­ter ho­tel to nearby Tankard­stown House, which boasts the ex­cel­lent Brabazon restau­rant un­der head chef Rob­bie Krawczyk. There’s a new chef at the helm in the Conyn­g­ham Arms – Kil­lian O’Dono­hoe joined last month and his menu reads well, with a moz­zarella, tomato, blood or­ange and rocket salad (¤6.50) and Black Wex­ford Mussels in gar­lic and wine (¤9.50). The prices are also at­trac­tive, with most mains clip­ping ¤15 – apart from a sir­loin steak au poivre (¤23). In a hurry, we or­der one starter to share, a tian of picked crab with “spiced mary­rose dress­ing” on Slane baked brown bread (¤12.50).

Un­for­tu­nately, this takes more than 20 min­utes to ar­rive, and while the crab is fresh, it’s been drowned in far too much may­on­naise – no spice or “mary­rose” flavour – although the bread is very good. For mains a con­fit of Ir­ish duck leg with mash, braised cab­bage with an or­ange and thyme demi glaze (¤14.50) is a de­cent piece of meat, if still quite fatty. The thyme flavour has been fully ab­sorbed by the red cab­bage, a slightly jar­ring combo. The mash is creamy and well sea­soned. Oddly, two large swirls of bal­samic vine­gar and pesto sur­round the meal – en­tirely un­nec­es­sary when the demi glaze is so full of flavour.

A slow-cooked lamb shank (¤16.50) looks very at­trac­tive, with roast gar­lic mash and “roasted” car­rot (ac­tu­ally slightly soggy, pre­cut car­rot ba­tons). The shank is ten­der and well cooked but lacks depth of flavour – it could do with more sea­son­ing or punchier cooking juices on top. There’s some de­cent cooking hap­pen­ing here and at very rea­son­able prices – by the time we leave the room is full with a mix of lo­cals and tourists.

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