Restaurant Lady Anne review: Something special has been brought to Kilkenny

Well-executed food and excellent service is guaranteed at this Castlecomer restaurant

Restaurant Lady Anne in Castlecomer, Co Kilkenny, is resolutely special-occasion territory
Restaurant Lady Anne
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Address: Creamery House, The Square, Castlecomer, County Kilkenny
Telephone: 086 1302020
Cuisine: Irish
Cost: €€€

Grabbing any sort of silver lining has been how most of us have got through this year, and for me, it has been planning a monthly work-from-home week in somewhere interesting. I now find myself with a quest to travel every green road on the Michelin map, those scenic roads that are a navigational notch above the potholed boreens that will rip your tyres to shreds.

So, Michelin. The company known for tyres. And maps. And food. And, I have recently discovered, not apps. Look for a restaurant suggestion along the route from Dublin to Kilkenny and the first thing that comes up is Aimsir. Yes, two stars, amazing, and starts with an “a”, but hardly a spot to pop into on short notice for a quick bite to break up your drive.

Restaurant Lady Anne, in the market town of Castlecomer, Co Kilkenny, opened in the second half of 2019 and, in that short time, garnered the attention of the Michelin Guide. It is listed with a Michelin plate, a symbol for restaurants that have neither a star nor a Bib Gourmand but are notable for very good food. After applying a number of filters to the Michelin app, it will finally come up as a suggestion.

The restaurant is on the ground floor of a handsome, mid-18th century house that has run the historical milestone gamut. Torched in the 1798 rebellion, it was rebuilt by aristocrat Lady Anne Wandesforde. Later it was the home of the manager of the creamery co-op, but subsequently fell into disrepair and was scheduled for demolition – until local man John Comerford injected a load of cash and restored it to its former glory.


With the opportunity to do something special, chef Keith Boyle and his wife, Carmel, took over the lease for the ground floor and basement to open Restaurant Lady Anne.

It is resolutely special-occasion territory. Grand proportions, wooden floors, stucco work, candles all over the place and a stool for your handbag leave you in no doubt. Sunday lunch is a €50 multi-course tasting menu, which is sprinkled with words such as croustade and Viennoise, so it is no surprise when I later discover that Boyle is a big fan of Fernand Point, considered by many to be the father of modern French cuisine.

Detailed courses

The croustade, our first bite, is a little cornet of wild brown trout, and is followed by scallop Viennoise. Beneath an edible filigree leaf, I find a nicely cooked scallop topped with a crunchy mix of capers, lemons, fried parsley and breadcrumbs, which is anchored with a thick, concentrated sauce made from a fish fond, nutty with the rich notes of brown butter.

This level of detail extends to the wine service, including all of the by-the-glass options. What I hadn’t expected is that each wine (by the glass) is served in an individual carafe.

And again, with the bread – pain de campagne, black truffle loaf and roast chicken butter – it is served as a separate course, on a hand-crafted Irish elm and sycamore board. It is good but for me, bread is generally about mopping up sauces, rather than eating as an individual course.

Scallop Viennoise

The next course is “flavours” of tomato and here, there are tomatoes of many beautiful colours, topped with a tomato sorbet. It all borders on being a little bit acidic, but a dainty cup of tomato consommé kicks in with a delicious sweetness.

For main course, it is a choice between local rosé veal or cod, and both of these dishes are well-handled, with veloutés and jus adding flavour, and generous amounts of delicious vegetables from the Victorian walled garden.

Dessert is studied, a delicate mousse dusted in cocoa powder with a crunchy base, that doesn’t overwhelm after quite a few courses.

There is a lot of ambition at Restaurant Lady Anne, and when I learn that Boyle is the only one in the kitchen, making all the breads and desserts as well as the savoury courses, I am struck by the level of commitment and the workload. He is a skilled chef, and a bit of editing could see this experience moving from multi-course formality to something really focused. Restaurant Lady Anne is without a doubt a very pleasant place to visit, and with Keith and Carmel Boyle, you are guaranteed excellent service and well-executed food. They have indeed brought something special to Castlecomer.

Lunch for two with three glasses of wine was €134.50

  • The verdict: Good food and wonderful service in Castlecomer
  • Facilities: Sparkling and incredibly smart with fluffy towels
  • Music: Inconsequential jazz, very much in the background
  • Food provenance: Top-quality local produce and higher-welfare meat
  • Vegetarian options: Vegetarian menu on request
  • Wheelchair access: Fully accessible, with accessible toilet
Corinna Hardgrave

Corinna Hardgrave

Corinna Hardgrave, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes a weekly restaurant column