Zucchini’s restaurant is just outside Navan, in a new shopping development called Blackcastle Square. It is upstairs over a row of shops, and from the outside you really don’t get any idea of what lies inside. Up the contemporary wooden staircase, you find yourself in a very stylish and contemporary space that would be at home in a city centre boutique hotel.
There is a small bar cum waiting area, and the dining room is divided in tow, with the slightly larger section to the right which has a curving banquette along one wall, which is itself covered with red velvet in a button back style. Facing this is a draped wall hung in purple fabric, with large picture mirrors. The floor is polished to within and inch of its life, while the other side of the dining room mirrors this almost baroque design. The whole effect is very pleasing, and as I say you could imagine yourself in the Dylan or the Morrison.
The menu is fairly eclectic offering a range of dishes that span most tastes and indeed geographical regions. Oriental dishes sit alongside Mexican, while there is more than a nod in the direction of modern Irish. On closer inspection, there is a theme running through it, and its mouth watering flavours. Chef Paul McCullagh has created a range of dishes that are hard to fault on the taste stakes judging from the dishes we enjoyed recently.
We started with the shredded oven baked duck, served with pancakes and Hoi Sin sauce, This Chinese favourite was beautifully presented and perfectly cooked, the Silver Hill duck was juicy and succulent, and sliced spring onions and cucumber added coolness and freshness. We had to try the most popular dish, which is a fusion of wok fried beef in chilli and garlic, served beside a European style salad of organic baby leaves, sun dried tomatoes, toasted pine nuts and Balsamic. The dish was served on a piece of slate, looked great and tasted better, no wonder it’s popular.
I took a detour with the main course and had the filet of cod with home made chips, pea puree and tartare sauce. People think this is a simple dish, but all the elements here are made in the kitchen, so there’s a lot to go wrong. Not in this case, the batter was light and crispy, fish cooked au Pointe, chips were crispy on the outside and floury inside, and the mint pea puree was perfect.
I just about managed a taste of chocolate fondant and a coffee to finish. Zucchini’s has been packing them in and recently won the RAI award for best in Meath. I’m not surprised; this family run restaurant is a step above the ordinary, with a fine chef who’s not afraid to nail his colours to the mast. Excellent service and a well chosen wine list just add to the food. Well worth a visit.