Bunratty Castle Hotel is an impressive Georgian hotel overlooking the historic Bunratty Castle and Folk Park. As you come into the grounds the hotel is at the top of the drive, a well proportioned building painted in cream, with the large sash window picked out in white. Inside it is opulent, with large feature pieces dotted around and a grand staircase.
Il Pomodoro Restaurant can be entered through Kathleen’s bar or straight through its own entrance from the car park. Food is served in both the bar and the restaurant each day, with the bar serving a selection of light bites and more substantial dishes in a traditional bar with leather seats and red feature wallpaper.
The restaurant is brighter and quite airy with a selection of bright paintings on the walls, while more contemporary red leather seats complement the linen covered tables set with sparkling glasses and cutlery. We sat at a table by the window, overlooking the castle and Dirty Nellie’s, one of the oldest and best known pubs in Ireland, which was all lit up with fairy lights, and made a very pretty picture. The atmosphere was relaxed and informal with couples, families, locals and tourists all patronizing the restaurant on this particular night.
The menu was of Italian influence with a definite lean towards the Irish palate. Starters included an antipasto board, bruschetta, or a fresh tuna Nicoise. The prices were keen, ranging from €4.50 to €7.50. Main courses are as you would expect, a selection of pastas, pizzas with thick or thin crust and some meat and fish dishes all ranging anywhere from €12.95 for a Bolognese to €21.95 for a steak.
The wine list was well chosen with a selection of reds and whites from all corners of the globe and were respectfully priced from €18 to €54 a bottle. There was also a connoisseur’s list with more expensive options, priced from €42 to €168, but it had a couple of good choices, including a Chateauneuf du Pape for €66.00 or an Italian MASI Amarone 2006 at €60. We shared a bottle of One Tree Sauv. Blanc from New Zealand at €26.45, a good choice well priced.
I enjoyed the spicy marinated tiger prawns while himself had a good bruschetta and our daughter went with the soup of the day – a well made potato & leek. Hubbie got awkward with his main, requesting the linguini with kink prawn, but in the spicy Arribiatta, which the staff were very happy to do while we decided to try their pizza, I had the Capriccioso on a thin base with no aubergine and Keisha had a thin crust Margherita. The pizzas were stone baked and really very good indeed, and I think were the best choice, however my husband is still talking up his pasta.
For dessert there was six creations to tempt; a classic tiramisu, bread and butter pudding with crème anglaise or home made Italian ice cream, but the warm brownie with chocolate sauce sounded so good we all decided to share, and it accompanied our coffee and finished off a great evening.
If you find yourself down that end of the country; a more relaxed evening would be hard to beat, especially if you have family in tow. The staff are very accommodating to children, and the setting is lovely.