The Thatch in Crinkill is something you only imagined existed in fairytales, a beautiful 300 year old thatch cottage in a sleepy village. Des Connoly is the sixth generation of his family to run both the bar and restaurant. Inside you can feel the olde world atmosphere when surrounded with exposed brickwork, open beams and antique fireplaces.
The bar it is full of little nooks and crannies and through another seating area you enter the restaurant. To the rear there is a fabulous open bar made of oak barrels and displaying many bottles of fine wine. There are plenty of artifacts and pictures on the walls, an old dresser you would expect to see in your gran’s kitchen and I am sure every piece has its own individual story.
Being a small restaurant the setting is indeed intimate with tables all very close to each other, however this all goes to creating the friendly atmosphere. There is a choice of menus; an early bird menu offering three courses and tea/coffee for €30.00 and an A la Carte.
Daily specials are displayed on the black board and food is also available in the bar. Everything is cooked under the watchful eye of a professional staff who have gained many years experience both overseas and also in Roly’s of Ballsbridge in Dublin. Starters tempt you with such dishes as warm avocado and cherry tomato salad with a lemon dressing, a choice of soups and chowders and sorbets.
There was a good selection of wines divided between recommended reds, whites and half bottles. There was also a Rose and a couple of sparklers to choose from for that special celebration. All were modestly priced, between €20-35 a bottle and €15 for a half bottle. A couple caught my eye, in the whites was a Spanish Viura Condesa de Leganza La Mancha at €25.00 and a red South African Libertas Cabernet Sauvignon very reasonably priced at €20.00.
Three of us dined on this particular day, and I started with garlic mushrooms prepared in a way I have never seen before; the mushrooms were fresh from a local farm that were then stuffed with a light garlic and potato filling and lightly fried in a breadcrumb coating then served on a thatch house salad and all for €8.50. Our daughter enjoyed fresh monkfish fried in a Chinese style batter and also served with a house salad for €10.00 and my husband went with Mossfield’s feta cheese salad with black olives, green salad and basil dressing for €9.50.
The mains were divided into all different categories from chicken, meat, steaks, seafood and were priced anywhere between €21.00 for the vegetarian option to €30.00 for a 12oz fillet steak. All of their dishes are created with imagination and flair and you can even find such rare meats as ostrich and kangaroo for the more adventurous palate.
On this occasion I chose to have the fillet of lemon sole stuffed with crabmeat and served with a basil cream, which was so fresh it just melted in the mouth. This time my daughter enjoyed a generous helping of chicken Italian, this was a pan-fried breast of chicken served on a bed of pasta with a creamy white wine sauce with Julienne peppers and mushrooms and hubbie went with fillet of beef mignons in a wild mushroom and whiskey sauce. The steak was perfectly cooked and the mushrooms made a second successful appearance. A selection of vegetables, garlic potatoes and homemade fries also accompanied the dishes, and a good appetite is essential.
The Thatch in Crinkill has won many awards over the years, and what with it being only 20 minutes off the M7 on the other side of Roscrea, just before you get to Birr it is definitely worth a trip. We sat for a long time afterwards and soaked up the atmosphere and lived the fairytale before continuing on the road for home. These kinds of country pubs are as rare as hen’s teeth now, and when you find one, it’s so worth it. The Thatch has it all in spades.