The Meadowlands Hotel in situated in Tralee, a ten minute walk from the main shopping area and in a nice quiet residential part of the town.
The hotel is deceptively spacious; there are about 60 guest rooms, but the complex has a large conference and event venue, a very busy pub in the form of frankness, lovely gardens and An Pota Stoir restaurant, which has been recommended by Michelin and has a good supply of fresh seafood daily from Dingle, since the owner is also a fisherman there.
The hotel is nicely designed, in a traditional way, with lots of wood, fine parquet floors, roughly plastered walls, high ceilings and plenty of space. The dining room rises into a pyramid shaped roof, which obviously makes for a very spacious and open feel in the restaurant. There is a mezzanine balcony overlooking the ground floor and tables are well spaced.
The menu features local produce in addition to the seafood, so you can expect to see Annascaul black pudding, Kerry lamb and Valentia island ice creams all making an appearance on the menu.
We really enjoyed a starter platter of smoked and cured fish from the smokehouse in Dingle of owner Paddy O’Mháthuna. The mackerel was moist and nicely flavoured, tuna was cured and almost meaty, while smoked salmon was velvety and nicely smoked and a salmon mousse was delicate and tangy. This was a well balanced starter and when accompanied with some of the homemade brown bread, got us off to a fine start.
Main courses brought the hot seafood platter and Kerry lamb. The seafood was generous, and comprised monkfish, spiced Pollock, grilled scallops, a slice of hake, and a darn of salmon. All the pieces were cooked just so, a butter and lemon sauce was on hand, as was some mango purée. This was a fine selection of local fresh fish.
The lamb dish was simply cooked, but the flavour from the meat was quite something, and a reduced jus was almost tangy in its intensity. We swapped over halfway through and the contrast between the delicate fish and the robust meat made both of these dishes doubly memorable.
Desserts tempted with a strawberry plate of ice cream, strawberry soup, a small shortbread strawberry cake and a perfect sorbet. A flourless chocolate cake was impossibly light, and the Valentia Island Madagascar vanilla ice cream that accompanied it was excellent. The lads in Valentia were also responsible for the sorbet, and they have a mean take on ice cream.
This was a fine meal in comfortable surrounding, while manager Lizzie Lyons runs the room with aplomb, and service throughout was friendly and efficient.
Meadowlands Hotel is a great base to explore Kerry, and dinner in An Pota Stoir won't disappoint.