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The Club at Goffs review: Kildare’s newest place to dine has Michelin pedigree in every single bite

With chef Derry Clarke and wife Sallyanne involved, it’s no surprise the food is delicious and cooked with precision

The Club at Goffs
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Address: Greenhills, Kill, Co. Kildare, W91 APW9
Telephone: 1800 600 300
Cuisine: Modern Irish
Cost: €€€

A white rectangular carapace of a building is, I discover, home to the Club at Goffs – Kildare’s newest place to dine. Inside, there’s a modest hotel reception area to the right and to the left, a bar which merges into the restaurant space. It could have been designed for an out-of-town Radisson hotel. The television is attracting a small audience, the results of a race no doubt.

Booths and large tables run along each side, with a double strip of comfortable two-seater booths tracking through the middle. We’re seated at the far end of the restaurant, with a bird’s-eye view of the spacious kitchen behind glass, the entrance to the toilets (“fillies” and “stallions”) and a service station. As the evening progresses, the room fills up with a serious amount of glam arriving for the 8pm tables. The Kildare pack have a sense of occasion.

Dare I say it but there’s nothing on the menu to frighten the horses. Snacks of olives, smoked almonds, croquettes, a tartlet and oysters lead the field; with crab, carpaccio, burrata, scallops and cured Clare Island salmon on the small plates section. Lamb, beef, monkfish and spiced cauliflower, plus roast duck for two, are the five main course options.

To be fair, it’s a menu that will please most people and any misgivings I had about it being a shade predictable dissipate with my very first bite of a sautéed Castletownbere scallop (€20). It is cooked so precisely, I immediately glance up at the kitchen. Derry Clarke (of now closed L’Ecrivain) and James Sheridan (formerly of Canteen) are at work with a brigade of chefs, harnessing every single scrap of their experience. French asparagus is a beautiful accompaniment to those scallops and the bisque, dotted with morels and finished with a foam, is exquisite.


There is bread on hand, Ballymore Organics sourdough and Guinness bread, which goes beautifully with the Kilmore Quay crab (€18). It’s a sizeable portion, visible beneath the pretty, opaque slices of finely cut radish. Sallyanne Clarke does her thing, dropping by every table, chatting to diners, many of whom she clearly knows.

A Domäne Wachau Grüner Veltliner (€45), from a substantial, leather-clad list that has a few bottles below €40 and plenty by the glass, is crisp and refreshing with the fish starters and the monkfish (€38) that follow. Seared golden, the monkfish comes with a truly delicious beurre blanc. Clams, mussels, capers and tomato, tumbled on top of a grilled leek, add to the dish.

Rump of Slaney Valley lamb (€34) is blushing pink, accompanying sweetbreads are soft and tender and pureed squash has a hint of tarragon and a load of butter; you may well have licked this one off your plate back in the day in L’Ecrivain. Again, the sauce is pitch perfect. We have ordered a side of chips (€6) but would have been fine without them as the portions are generous.

Desserts sound fairly straightforward, although “horse choux” (€12) is intriguing (and yes, there are horsey puns by the furlong). A crisp choux, topped with torched meringue comes with a quenelle of hay-smoked cremeux and slices of banana glazed with a whiskey caramel. It’s a dazzling dessert – the work of pastry chef, Elizabeth Derby (not a pun), who was clearly bred for the job.

The bill arrives and I soon realise that I missed something in the elf-sized print at the end of the menu: “A discretionary gratuity of 10% will be added to your bill and is divided fairly between the staff.” Had I spotted it, I would have asked for it to be removed and, instead, tipped in cash. It is the only way that you can be sure that the service charge goes where you intend it to go. I should emphasise that I have no reason to believe that the distribution of service charge here is anything other than fair but how it is paid should be at the discretion of the diner. And I reckon that the patrons at Goffs are flaithiúil enough when it comes to a share of the purse.

Small print aside, Kildare’s newest restaurant is impressive. The room is unremarkable, yet, comfortable; the prices are punchy but relatively good value; and the dishes, though mainstream, are delicious and cooked with precision. It is very fine bistro food with just a few degrees of separation from Michelin dining, which is hardly surprising when you have Derry and Sallyanne Clarke involved.

Dinner for two with a bottle of wine and inclusive tip was €190.85.

The verdict: The Michelin pedigree shows in every single bite

Music: Not audible. It’s all about the chat in the room

Food provenance: Gilligans Farm, Slaney Valley lamb, Feighcullen duck, Kish Fish, Wrights of Marino

Vegetarian options: One starter and one main course, such as cauliflower with harissa herb and nut crumb

Wheelchair access: Accessible with accessible toilet

Corinna Hardgrave

Corinna Hardgrave

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