We decided to kick off our meal with an aperitif from the cocktail menu which contained a small selection of the classics. I decided on a Pina Colada (€8.50) which was made with rum, Malibu, fresh cream and pineapple juice whilst John, my dining companion for the evening, chose a Long Island Iced Tea (€10.50). Both drinks were mixed well but John’s with its boozy hit of vodka, gin, rum, Cointreau, tequila and fresh lime juice, topped with Coke was - quite understandably - particularly good.
Breads – a White and a Brown Soda were first to arrive and were accompanied by a generous amount of butter. This was followed by an amuse bouche of intensely flavoured Minestrone with Truffle Oil. Served in a small espresso cup the soup was packed full of complex, feisty flavours that lingered in a most satisfying way. Soups are often a way of using up vegetables and other bits and pieces that are hanging around but this was well-considered and tasted delicious. We both loved it.
My starter of Tortellini of Salted Cod & Lobster, Cauliflower Purée and Spinach with a Champagne Sauce was a beautiful looking dish. The pasta had been expertly made with an unusual filling of salt cod and lobster which sounded like it shouldn’t work but was excellent. Once again, punchy flavours were to the fore but they had been handled in a sensitive and measured fashion to create a plate of food that pleased on many levels. A perfectly seared scallop completed and was a nice touch.
John’s Parfait of Goat’s Cheese, Pine Nut & Basil, Pear & Mustard Purée and Poached Baby Pear was also attractively presented with a lovely combination of ingredients that came together harmoniously on the plate. The parfait was surprisingly light with a lovely tangy freshness that paired well with the pear and mustard purée whilst the slivers of poached pear provided juiciness that brought everything together. This dish appeared simple but revealed hidden delights with each mouthful.
|Daube of Beef|
A pre-dessert of White Chocolate Ganache with Pistachio Mousse came simply presented in a shot glass and was creamy and as light-as-a-feather. It dissolved in the mouth in a most agreeable way and was a lovely way to lead into the final course.
|White Chocolate & Pistachio Mousse|
I was very taken with my meal in McLoughlin’s restaurant. Tom Walsh’s food is self-assured and he is obviously a chef who likes to push boundaries but this is never at the expense of food itself and he instinctively seems to know when to stop. Flavours are robust and ingredients are often combined in a creative and interesting way.
McLoughlin’s Restaurant at Roganstown is open for dinner seven days a week and also serves an Early Bird Menu served from 5.30pm to 7pm (Sunday to Thursday).
Dinner – Monday to Sunday: from 5:30pm last orders at 10pm,
Sunday Lunch: 12:00pm to 7:00pm
Roganstown Hotel & Country Club
|Pear Tarte Tatin|