KIL­DARE

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

JA­PANESE GAR­DENS RESTAU­RANT

Ir­ish Na­tional Stud, Tully, Kil­dare, 045-521617, irish­na­tion­al­stud.ie € Vis­i­tor’s cen­tre food gen­er­ally strikes fear in my heart (and my di­ges­tive sys­tem). Limp, brown leafed salad sand­wiches, soggy quiches and rock-hard scones are the usual fod­der served up to the bus­loads of trapped tourists.

A nice sur­prise then, to visit the restau­rant at the Na­tional Stud and Ja­panese Gar­dens in Kil­dare.

Here, you re­ally are cap­tive - the only other food for miles is the high-qual­ity hay fed to the coun­try’s thor­ough­breds in the ad­join­ing sta­bles. But they’re do­ing great things in­side for the hu­mans too. The bright restau­rant is pleas­antly dec­o­rated with oil ta­ble cloths, cream chairs and large win­dows over­look­ing the Ja­panese gar­dens. The food is all made on site by Bal­ly­maloe-trained Natalie Collins and her team - there’s an in­cred­i­bly busy open kitchen to the rear. A still warm slice of sausage roll (€10.95), as big as a batch loaf, is crammed with tasty pork, spices and cov­ered in toasted sesame seeds. All main cour­ses are served with a se­lec­tion of sal­ads, which in­clude a ba­con-flecked Cae­sar, pasta with rocket and pesto and some roasted potato with bal­samic and caramelised onions. Two good slices of a loin of ba­con (€9.95) are moist and mor­eish and come glazed in honey and Di­jon, and more of those sal­ads.

Desserts are enor­mous and again, all made on site. There’s a Toblerone cake (€3) that dis­ap­pears while we queue; a light as air Bel­gian choco­late pra­line mousse cake, served with dainty mac­arons on the side (€4.95) and a de­li­cious pear and almond tart, with fresh berries and cream (€3.95). Food is served here from 9am to 5pm daily. You can visit with­out en­ter­ing the stud or the gar­dens, but then you’d never walk off those desserts…

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