The Fairways has been described by some as Tipperary’s best secret, and while this sounds like praise indeed, it doesn’t come close to just what an oasis it is. Slightly off the beaten track, en route to Cloughjordan, the Fairways spent most of it’s life as a local pub before the chef with a vision, Geoff Jones, took the plunge and turned this into one of Ireland’s hottest food destinations.
It isn’t often you walk through a door and immediately feel comforted, there’s the roaring fire, the rustic coloured walls filled with personal touches. Its all nooks and cosy benches for families, friends and couples.
Geoff Jones is a chef who isn't afraid to put his personality on the
plate. Being proprietor at the Orchard Bar and Fairways Restaurant
along with his wife Joan McGowan, keeps the couple busy but not so busy
that Jones didn't spend the past year upping his game in the
restaurant stakes even further. Not content with being one of the best
fish cooks in the region, Jones now makes all the breads, flavoured
butters and ice creams that leave his rigorous kitchen. Hard to
believe that he still finds time to get his signature style to every
The Fairways is a rare blend of cosy and comfortable and
yet that feeling that you're out somewhere special for the night. Jones' food is distinct, like the man. It comes up to greet you from the plate with dishes like the starter of Parmesan Tuille, filled with Lemon and Sea Salted Crab served with a Brunoise of Beetroot and a Lemon and Mint Balm Sabayon; a fresh and light dish with a punch of juicy, sweet crabmeat and everything else just falling into place.
A fillet of Beef Wellington, with Mushroom and Thyme Duxcell and Sweet Potato Puree will fill the hungry boots of any diner with a large appetite for a piece of the tenderest beef. The Marinated Chicken Wanton with lemongrass and other Asian favourite flavours, was crunched by the teen at the table, loving it's over-sized proportions and crispy alludings to food that kids love.
While the Escalope of Pork in a Garden Herb Crust with a Black Pudding Flapjack sounded tempting, the half Boneless Duck with Blackberry and Cassis Jus won over the table. This is the best piece of game on a plate, with a fruity sauce full of real berries and punches of flavour but never sacrificing on tenderness and moments of crispy skin. The low Braised Shank of Slane Valley Lamb will transport you straight to rural France, served on a cassoulet of beans in a Herb and Red Wine Jus.
The Baked Fillet of Cod, Scallop and Crab with a herb and Lemon Crust
is a perfectly cooked hunk of the finest white fish, with a perfect
Chervil Beurre Blanc, the fish falls apart at the fork in perfect
balance and satisfaction delivered by one great plate of food. The new
wine menu, devised with Febvre and Jones, matched one of the new
Sicilian kids on the block, the Nero D'Avolo with its own berry
flavours, perfectly with the fruity duck. The Pinot Grigio from Veneto
used its appley-ness and floral fragrances to match the cod and crabs'
Leave room for desert here, just the plate decorations alone, mini stripey meringues and fresh coulis, will leave you full. With the much-loved Sticky-Toffee Pudding or the Strawberry Shortcake with Chantilly Cream, all flattered by Jones full-cream ice creams, these desserts are fun plates never to be forgotten, but do leave room for them, they can't be ignored. The Fairways is a treat, fun and memorable, a place you make excuses to get to get back to every time.