Meal Ticket: Dunboyne Castle Hotel, Meath

Dunboyne Castle Hotel and Spa feels more remote than the 30 minutes it takes to drive from Dublin

Dunboyne Castle Hotel
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Address: Maynooth Rd, Dunboyne, Co. Meath
Telephone: 01-801 3500
Cuisine: Irish

Dunboyne Castle Hotel and Spa feels more remote than the 30 minutes it takes to drive from Dublin. Afternoon Tea is served in the Terrace Lounge and costs €30 for two people (a glass of prosecco each can be added for €15). The three-tier selection includes finger sandwiches varying from age old favourites such as smoked salmon on Guinness brown bread, to newer combinations like egg mayo on mini brioche. The freshly baked scones are served traditionally, piled high with cream and strawberry jam. A selection of mini-cakes and pastries top the stand, with the milk chocolate and pistachio mousse deserving particular finger-licking attention.

The Ivy Restaurant offers modern Irish cuisine, cooked by head chef John Nagle. The à la carte menu provides the classics, along with vegetarian options such as St Tola goats cheese with beetroot meringue; and bulgur wheat with parmesan crust and 64°C egg yolk (that’s a runny egg to you and me). The West Coast scallops are particularly good, pan-fried with salt baked carrots, although are perhaps a touch over-cooked on the night we visit.

The seared fillet of turbot is a good-sized portion, and sits on top of Dublin Bay prawn and crayfish ravioli, which is delicious, while a char-grilled Angus beef fillet is well- cooked. Make sure to leave room for dessert as this is where Nagle comes into his own. The raspberry panna cotta is a creamy dream, served with a balsamic reduction and honeycomb shards, which hit sweet and notes. The evening is finished with coffee and pieces of ‘Chef’s Smashed Chocolate’.

Dinner served 6.30pm-9.30pm. Early Bird served all evening Sunday to Thursday, 6.30pm- 7.30pm Friday. Starters average €9; mains average €27; desserts average €7. Afternoon tea is available 2pm- 6pm and there’s an Aromathera-tea package, which includes afternoon tea and a spa treatment, €65 per person.