The D Hotel inDroghedaopened Wm Cairnes Gastropub May 2012 in what used to be Cairnes Brewery. There are definite traces of the old brewery brought into the pub with exposed brickwork and corrugated ceiling and ducting. The walls are scattered with mirrors, plates and bottles and large black boards to the rear of the room display the day’s specials and wines of the month, while and various cuts of meat are shown on a diagram of a cow. There are several seating from sofas and low tables to more traditional tables and chairs and you will even find granddads armchair tucked away in the corner
A selection of warm homemade breads was brought to the table with a carafe of water. Menus were placed in the centre of children’s annuals; I got Dennis the Menace while my husband got the Beano, a really nice touch I thought. Conor, the manager of Cairnes was telling us that as soon as they started doing this, customers donated annuals from home, some dating back as far as 1982; probably worth a small fortune now!
Head Chef Nick Woolard took over 4 months ago, having spent many years with Eamon O Reilly at The Box Tree & Wild Boar inDublinwhere he attained a Michelin Bib Gourmand, and he brought many of his creations with him. He is striving to give his diners good wholesome food at affordable prices. Lunch is served from 12noon till 5pm Wednesday to Sunday, dinner starts from 5pm till late with live music every weekend.
The menu is an all day dining option, divided into lunch specials and sandwiches for earlier in the day. Appetizers start at €4.50 for the soup of the day and go up to €12 for black pudding which is served with creamed leaks & caramelised apple tart tatin glazed withBellinghamblue cheese. For mains you can choose between meat & poultry, fish or vegetarian, all reasonably priced with nothing going beyond €16.50, except the 10oz rib eye steak which is priced at €24.
I started with the special of seafood tempura; salmon, prawns and crab claws served with a tzatsiki style sauce while Fred had Cairnes chicken wings - only €5.95 the portion was a meal in itself. Here the Tempura was a definite winner, with subtle flavours and a delicious dip. With main courses I stayed with the maritime, with the sea bream, 2 pieces of fish on a bed of buttered leaks with sweet potato puree and prawn tempura, it was perfectly cooked and the flavour of the fish was allowed to shine. Himself had the confit of lamb shank, boldly cooked in duck fat but well worth the calories, it melted in the mouth. Using animal fats has been relegated, but the way meat absorbs animal fats gives the dish a tenderness that is absent when vegetable fats are used. All the dishes on the menu are accompanied by a recommended beer and wine, again all nice touches and we could also have enjoyed mains including prawn & Dunany crab linguini, sticky plum & chilli ribs or a mozzarella & crispy bacon burger.
Desserts are €5.50 and very tempting with an orange crème brulee, dark chocolate & Guinness mousse or lemon rice pudding. We shared the evening’s special which was layers of amoretti biscuits, chocolate mousse, cherry jelly and crème brulee covered in dark chocolate. It resembled a chocolate Kimberly biscuit and was absolutely delicious; a mix of all your favourite desserts in one.
Cairnes is a winner; you can find any excuse to visit, from a coffee after a morning of shopping to an office lunch or dinner with friends or the family. With a selection of board games to choose from and a special kids menu everyone is welcome. Also, a great venue for drinks and good music it’s a great reason to stop inDrogheda.