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The Grasshopper Inn Clonee,

Grasshopper inn

Clonee Village, Co. Meath.

01 8251049

Hours: Lunch and Dinner seven days

Review

The Grasshopper Inn is what used to be called a road house, a large pub with ample parking that allowed travellers using the old N3 to pull in for a bite to eat either on their way into Dublin or on their way out of it.

Clonee has been bypassed now by the new and improved M3, so now you have to make a conscious decision to leave the motorway to find Clonee Village and The Grasshopper.

I went there to try out their version of the hot stones with my son Rocco and his partner Ruby Slevin, and we arrived at about 8pm.

You'd know you were in a pub -- there were plenty of tables surrounded by high stools and a few surrounded by chairs, which is where we chose to sit.

The menu was quite extensive, and our waitress pointed out that, being a midweek night, we could avail of an offer -- the 10oz sirloin steak for €15 instead of €20.

We could have eaten from an early-bird menu, but that didn't include any hot-stone dishes and we'd come specifically to try those.

There were a few starters listed on the menu, bar classics such as chicken wings, potato skins and breaded mushrooms. Rocco and Ruby chose spring rolls to share between them and I chose the prawn cocktail.

For our main courses, Rocco chose the fillet steak, Ruby the tiger prawns and I chose the sirloin steak -- all dishes designed for the hot stone. They included a choice of chips, wedges or mash, and for vegetables we could choose either onions, mushrooms or mixed vegetables.

There was also a choice of sauces for the steaks -- pepper, garlic butter or Bearnaise.

Our starters arrived, two spring rolls served on a salad base with a small pot of plum sauce alongside, and a half dozen or so tiger prawns served in a parfait glass on a bed of shredded lettuce.

The spring rolls and the plum sauce were good and Rocco and Ruby ate one each with pleasure.

The prawn cocktail was well done, the prawns firm and fresh, and the Marie Rose sauce had just a hint of spice.

Maybe it's time for this classic to make a comeback.

The hot stones arrived next. Ruby had eight big, fat prawns sizzling on her hot stone, while Rocco had the biggest piece of fillet I've seen in a while. I swear it looked bigger than my 10oz sirloin.

Between us we also had wedges, chips and vegetables, and Ruby had stir-fried noodles.

Hot-stone dishes can really only be judged on the quality of the raw elements and, I can tell you, the fillet was excellent, as were the prawns, while the sirloin was a little less successful, being just a bit hard to chew.

The other element that didn't quite make it was the noodles, which were also a bit chewy.

For drinks, we'd had four glasses of a Chilean Syrah, which were €5.50 each, and we'd had to buy water in small bottles, which meant that two-thirds of a litre cost €5.70.

Why do some pubs insist on selling water only in small bottles? It's an annoying and expensive way of doing it. This brought the bill for the three of us to €93.55.

The service was friendly and efficient, the prices fair and the food pretty good.

Mind you, not everyone thinks you should have to cook when you go out to eat, but it makes for a fun change.

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