Tag Archives: restaurant

An unexpected lunch at the Italian Batoni’s in Emo

We recently had an hour to spend en route from Dublin to Mount Mellick , and decided to stop in Emo for Lunch. This Italian Restaurant is a really hidden gem in Emo. It’s directly opposite the entrance to Emo Court. Jordan and I had visited there a number of years ago for a schools orienteering event, but had never spotted Batoni’s.
Although it looked closed driving by, once in the car park there’s a lovely entrance into the restaurant. We were seated immediately, and just to note, if I ever own a restaurant, I want those chairs.  SO comfortable.

Italian Food at Batoni's

Bruschetta Starter

The menu was really nicely presented and the specials clear- too clear- and delicious.  Nigel went for the Pate dello Chef (duck pate), and I the Bruschetta Contadina.  As a teeny aside, I’ve been learning Italian using the cool little Duolingo App, and really thought my language skills in this area were improving greatly.  Alas when I proudly ordered my starter in my BESTEST Italian accent, our server corrected my pronunciation without a second glance.  Total MORTO.  I really enjoyed the starter, despite my inability to pronuonce it! Both were unusually plated, but gave it uniqueness.

Batoni's Italian Restaurant

The pic doesn’t do this Italian take on pate justice

Main courses were as good, I went for Lasagna, and was not disappointed at all. Nigel had the special Linguine con Coniglio (rabbit pasta).

Batoni's Italian Restaurant

Lasagna with the most amazing cheese sauce

I’m not sure who got the better deal.
EmoAnd although I’m a BIG Dessert fan, I really couldn’t fit in anything else.  The only downside for me was the cheesecake special -Nutella and Strawberry Cheesecake.

a) Not a fan of Nutella AT ALL

b) Nutella and Strawberry WHA?

I had managed to have a really nice glass of Pinot Grigio with my meal, and would have quite happily sat having another glass, but we had to move on.  After a very strong coffee (too strong for me- so himself had to have the equivalant of three espressos!), we paid and left. Very satisfied.

Sometimes I fear, I am guilty of thinking that restaurants outside of major towns are not as busy or offer the same quality of food.  I was put firmly in my place here.  It was a real diamond.

Parking: Yes

Easily Accessible: Yes

Price: Mid Range but definitely value for money

Decor: Subtle

Food: Very Good Authentic Italian with their own stamp.

harry’s Shack- worth the trip

When we travelled to Portstewart last weekend, I never expected to be dining in style.  But a facebook friend said to visit Harry’s Shack while we were in the area, and we suddenly grinned from ear to ear.

Harry's Shack

Harry’s Shack

We had visited harry’s restaurant, Bridgend in March 2014, and “knew ” Donal from Twitter.  We had the most amazing meal, and knew that when the sister establishment opened the summer of 2014, that we would have to visit.

Donal with supporting Pims in harry's

Donal with supporting Pims

We were heading into Coleraine to do some shopping and were hoping to get to Portstewart Strand in time for lunch, but with the air show on in Portrush, we were unsure about the traffic and subsequent restrictions. but the eating Gods were with us, and we arrived in perfect time, and got a fabulous table overlooking the strand.

The view from our table

The view from our table

The menu, from the looks of it, is changed daily, and with specials made for good reading.  We shared the battered white bait to start, but very nearly ordered the prawns.

Whitebait with fresh salad and marie rose sauce

Whitebait with fresh salad and marie rose sauce

For main course I asked permission of the bill payer as to whether I could have my choice of half lobster.  Of course he agreed as he was going to be getting a taste.  Nigel tried the recommended whole sole special, which just tasted fabulous, and was served with a bowl of mashed potato.

Half Lobster mecca

Half Lobster mecca

Whole Sole on the bone- DIVINE

Whole Sole on the bone- DIVINE

As we are both trying to “Be good”, dessert was to be shared, mind you I was absent when it arrived to the table, and was very surprised that it was still there when I came back.

Chocolate Pot

Chocolate Pot

We had been tweeting with harry’s throughout the meal and they said not to go without trying the pistachio macarons.  But I just couldn’t fit another bite.

Pistachio Macaron at harry's Shack

Pistachio Macaron at harry’s Shack

It does give a reason to come back- see you at the end of October!!!

It’s been a while- Hodson Bay Hotel

I was trying to work out as I drove up from Waterford when I was last in the Hodson Bay Hotel.  I think it was about 1990.  The hotel I was working in at the time had just received it’s ISO certification, and as a thank you they brought us to the Hodson for the day.

We didn’t stay on that occasion, and from the website it looked like there had been a few changes.

Lough Ree

Lough Ree

The hotel is situated right beside the lake.  And on a day like the one I was there for, really beautiful.  There is ample car parking close to reception which was lovely.  I was staying the night as was attending a conference in the hotel at 8 the following morning, and the thoughts of a 3 hour drive at 5am didn’t appeal to me.

I was put in a “retreat” room.  It was so full of light, and the personal touch made me feel very welcome.

The Welcome Card

The Welcome Card

As I arrived quite late, I booked dinner in the restaurant straight away.  There are a number of dining options, but the menu looked lovely and seasonal in the L’Escale.  After a very quick freshen up, I arrived by myself down to the restaurant.  The staff were so nice, and I asked for wine recommendations with the meal, as I had been disappointed to miss the complimentary wine tasting that the hotel runs for guests.

I started with the wild mushroom risotto, which was quite a large portion, but a lovely flavour.  Even if the parmesan crisp wasn’t quite crispy.

Wild Mushroom Risotto

Wild Mushroom Risotto

Next was the recommended Loin of Venison, another rich dish, but went beautifully with the recommended wine, and now that I understand what it means to have single grape, and single estate on the bottle, I enjoy it even more!

Tuesday 21 April 2015 020

The dessert choices looked very appealing, with multi layers of texture and tastes, and it was quite a difficult decision.  I went with the rhubarb composition, as I felt it was the most seasonal.

The Rhubarb Composition

The Rhubarb Composition

The three layers of macaroon were the star attraction, I think the fruit on the top of the mousse was un-necessary, as there was enough with the rhubarb.  I think a little simplification would have heightened the dish.

The wine accompaniment was a great success, however.

Dessert Wine

Dessert Wine

The sleep quality was helped by the quiet room, and for someone who doesn’t generally sleep well away from home, I had a good nights rest.

Positives:

  • The Restaurant Staff are very professional and friendly, as was the Duty Manager on that night, who very professionally dealt with a small issue in the room
  • The Room was modern, airy, with incredible views of the lough.
  • The menu in the main restaurant was very reasonably priced both for wine and food, with good choices, and food both tasty and well presented.

And the most important positive for me? The social media person made the stay for me exceptional and personal.  So often people use twitter to complain and moan, or businesses use it to purely sell.  The twitter account for the Hodson Bay hotel makes the brand accessible and customer focused.  Stand up, take a bow @Hodsonbayhotel I’ll be back ,and the family are insisting on coming with me!