Campagne restaurant has a Michelin Star pedigree. Garrett Byrne was head chef in Chapter One when they won a much deserved Michelin star in 2007 under his hand. Having opened his own Campagne in Kilkenny, with his partner and restaurant manager, Brid Hannon, they have retained their own star yet again.
Paolo went along on a real foodie trip and he brought along the chef de cuisine from his own erstwhile restaurant, Lisa McMullan for what promised to be a fabulous meal - and certainly didn’t disappoint. Here is the review
Any one of these dishes would have been a good choice, I thought, but I let Lisa choose first and she picked the Foie gras terrine to start and halibut for her main course. I chose the deep fried haddock to start and followed with the slow cooked beef.
With that decided I turned to the wine list, which, for the moment, is quite short but has some well chosen wines on offer. There are about 25 reds and the same number of whites, three sparklers, five dessert wines and three ports and the price range is from 25 up to €99 for the Billecart Salmon champagne. One of my favourite white wines was on the list at €40, the Pieropan Soave 2006, so we ordered that. If ever there was a wine to change your preconceptions this is one. Those soaves you remember from years ago don’t prepare you for this elegant and complex wine
Just as I’d expected, our meal was excellent. It began with really good breads of which I ate too much, and when the starters arrived, Lisa had in front of her three rounds of terrine, not a dense hard terrine, but a soft a yielding one, that really let the taste of the Foie gras come through. My starter was a lightly smoked piece of haddock crumbed and deep fried, set on a base of mash and served with a spring onion hollandaise and a perfectly poached egg. Both dishes were superbly executed,
The main courses continued this run of gastronomic excellence – Lisa’s halibut was perfectly cooked and came with a pea puree, girolle mushrooms and dry cured bacon. My beef was a slow cooked piece of cheek, which had been marinated in wine before cooking and came with mushrooms, caramelised shallots and smoked bacon. Between us a terra cotta dish contained some fantastic mashed potato, that was probably fifty percent butter. Despite all my good intentions, I ate a lot of it. It ought to be illegal,
In truth, neither Lisa or I were hungry for dessert after all this, but after a pause and an espresso each we ordered a mix of three sorbets – melon, blueberry and raspberry. It brought gasps of pleasure from both of us. It was quite, quite delicious. This much is certain, Campagne has seriously raised the bar for dining in Kilkenny. .