Avenue restaurant Maynooth is a really well run restaurant serving delicious food at reasonable prices. They wanted to create somewhere you can go with a gang of friends or family for a great night out, and with their quality food, value and consistency they have succeeded.
Maynooth is a busy Town, what with the colleges and large companies that are situated in and around it. Avenue Cafe & Restaurant have been serving this market very effectively. Opening in December 2007 by Robert & Bronagh Kennedy, Avenue already boasts a band of loyal local customers and has gained a reputation for excellence. .
The last year has seen them expand into the building next door, both upstairs and down. Downstairs they have created a comfy library style bar with plush leather seating and tall stools around the traditional bar. There is a range of interesting whisking, as well as full use of the very good wine list, with a large selection available by the glass. It has become the unofficial home of the Irish rugby team when they are esconsed in Carton House just down the road.
There is a simple menu with antipasti and sharing platters available, but it's really a great chill out spot for a bit of after dinner indulgence. Upstairs has seen the addition of some more seating, as well as a private dining room which has been proving popular.
There is a choice of menus; an early bird with offers two courses for 18, or three for 23. There is a good choice available here, with a good smattering of the a la carte included with few supplements.
We were three hungry little diners: myself, Abigail my food scientist daughter, and my cousin John Doyle, back on a trip home from Maryland. We ordered from both emnus, and tried enough dishes to give a good idea of what you can expect.
I started with a pitch perfect Caesar salad that was crunchy and had the correct ingredients in the right amounts, no small feat apparently judging from the strange combinations or random ingredients that are sometimes described as a Caesar salad.
John enjoyed two large chunks or deep fried Brie with a berry compote while Abigail got the star with a really good salmon fish cake, which came on mixed leaves and a yoghurt salsa on top. It was light and erred on the side of fishy, without being overpowering. The other two by the way enjoyed a Pinot Grigio and Pinot Blanco while I, as designated driver, stuck with the sparkling water, which comes in their own bottles and costs next to nothing.
Main courses brought Abi a fine lamb shank, while John had the homemade bangers and mash; a treat for an Irish lad just home for a visit from the US. I had the rib steak on the bone, with shoe string onions and chunky hand cut chips. The steaks here come in on the rack, and are butchered and trimmed in the kitchen, so what arrived on the plate was pleasantly surprising and packed full of flavour, while the pepper sauce was exactly that, with a serious peppery punch. I don’t normally order steaks when doing reviews, but in this case I was glad I did, it was one of the best pieces of meat I have eaten.
Some people had room for dessert, the hollow legged duo as they shall be known, and an Eton mess and a sticky toffee pudding finished them off while I made do with and espresso. I was more austere than Merkel, with a side of Schauble.
Avenue has long been a personal favourite and it just keeps getting better. I think it is the bench mark by which neighbourhood restaurants should be measured, it is really that good.