The Pepper Mill is located in the centre of Nenagh and run by husband & wife team Mairead & Robert Gill. It is recognizable from the smart green exterior and the summer table and chairs outside that create the perfect setting for a balmy summer evening.
Downstairs is a wine & cocktail bar, serving tapas of an evening and upstairs is a contemporary restaurant. There is a fabulous French cream chandelier hanging from the atrium, the lighting is subtle, with side lamps and dimly lit spots, and the music in the background is up tempo giving a real sense of wanting to enjoy a drink while tapping your foot in time.
Menus have a European feel; however there is definitely a Malaysian/Thai influence instigated no doubt by the Malaysian chef who has worked alongside Mairead for the past ten years. An early bird menu offers 2 courses for €25 and 3 courses for €30, Tuesday to Thursday between 5-7pm and Friday & Saturday from 4-6pm.
The A la Carte menu has a great selection with nine starters, from a soup of the evening for €5.50 to crab cakes for €9.50. Other choices offer goat’s cheese crostini, a new potato and smoked mackerel salad or Glenbeigh baked mussels. Mains were priced between €17.95 for roast chicken with leek and mushroom stuffing up to €25.95 for the Hereford steaks with a selection of sauces. There was also duck, fresh cod and a rack of lamb on offer.
The wine list was extensive with a selection of French, Italian, Spanish and New World wines. Recommended wines range from €19.50 to €27 and are available by the glass from €4.90 to €6.75. We chose a bottle of New Zealand Elephant Hill sauvignon Blanc, a very fresh palatable wine at €25. (Reduced from €28)
We loved one special of Kilmore Quay scallops with a lemon and pine nut salad, which was perfectly cooked and presented with the roe of the scallop still attached. I like to see this, otherwise the roe is just discarded and it forms a fine contrast to the sweet white meat of the scallop proper. Another interesting use some chefs find is to dry the roe in the oven, then grind it into a fine powder and sprinkle it over the scallop prior to cooking, adding flavour and a deeper colour to the cooked scallop. The other half had the other special which was Thai beef salad, which was chilli hot and dressed with lime juice and toasted peanuts.
We followed up with more specials; of Union Hall baked turbot and Irish fillet of Hereford prime beef served on a rosti with red wine gravy. There was a huge selection of mashed and roast potato and a selection of fresh vegetables to accompany. Fresh fish can be wonderful, and here it was, while beef in the heart of Tipp has to be good, or the chef would be run out of town.
We were too full to venture onto desserts; however there were a lot of tempting choices had we been. There was an orange crème brulee, a summer strawberry cheesecake or a cup of rich chocolate mousse with shortbread and chocolate sauce, all priced at €6 except the cheese board which was €8.50.
We finished instead with a Bailey’s coffee and a cappuccino. The Pepper Mill is an elegant well run restaurant serving great quality food in a wonderful setting. Mairead running the kitchen and Robert at front of house means the owners hand is always present and everything runs perfectly.
Just across the road they run Pepe’s; a more casual affair but with equally good food. We will try it on the next trip to Nenagh.