Roganstown House and McLoughlin’s restaurant is an oasis in North county Dublin. It is hard to believe that such a haven of tranquillity exists 10 minutes outside of the hustle & bustle of Swords and less than 5 minutes from the airport. As you approach Roganstown through the golf club you will see a fairly plain but well restored early Victorian two storey house. It is long and nicely proportioned, set in parkland just off the drive.
Inside at reception there is a splendid staricase, while a room to your right has a beautiful fireplace and lovely antique furniture; a wonderful space to get away with the newspaper or that book you’ve been threatening to read for weeks. The bar is a large open area overlooking the golf course with a couple of terraces where BBQ’s are held when the Irish weather allows, and the evening we visited the sun was streaming through the large patio doors to the rear of the bar.
McLoughlin’s Restaurant is a very grand old room, well designed with loads of space between the tables. High ceilings and panelled walls gave a real sense of grandeur. The tables were set with silverware, white linen napkins and sparkling wine glasses. A bottle of Roganstown still water and a selection of homemade breads were brought to the table while we studied the menus. There’s a choice of a set menu priced at €37.50 for 3 courses plus tea and coffee, good value for money in this setting I feel.
There are some great dishes here, including Ballyboughal Farm pork rillettes or Five Mile Town goats cheese & beetroot salad to start, followed by braised shank of Slaney Valley lamb or pan fried sea bass. The a la carte has only recently been introduced with great thought from head chef Jason le Lievre, who previously worked under Richard Corrigan and more recently Frederique Cordonnier at Village at Lyons.
Starters run from €6.95 to €8.95 with dishes as tempting as Iberian ham, asparagus and crispy breaded hen’s egg with orange mayonnaise and sour dough crisps or pan seared wild bass with roasted peppers. Mains are from €17.95 for the vegetarian option of risotto of green pea and artichoke to €26.95 for the pan seared 10oz Tipperary beef rib eye.
The wine list is well chosen, there’s some eleven red and eleven white from around the world with a slightly larger emphasis on the French selection. The bulk of the listings are priced between €20 and €30 but there are a couple up around the €40 plus a choice of de-alcoholised wines at €17.95, also nice to see a selection by the glass at €6. I chose the Old Coach Road Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand at €29.95, which was well balanced and fresh.
I enjoyed the classic smoked salmon plate to start, followed by pan fried fillet of hake which was served on a bed of spinach and herb crushed potato with a crab bisque rouille. The hake was perfectly cooked, and the wilted spinach was a perfect accompaniment. My guest enjoyed the soup of Roscoff onion and parmesan - posh onion soup, pungent parmesan - and went onto the Slaney Valley shank of lamb with Parma ham. This was a slow cooked model; the meat fell off the bone it was so well done, while butternut puree and truffled greens added depth and texture.
If you were to come to Roganstown, pick a medium priced wine and dine off the set menu, you’d be out for around €100 for two, which given the fine surroundings, the excellent service and the superb quality of food means you are getting real value for money even in today’s times.
Remember you also have the option of dining in the bar; if you do decide to go out for bar food ask them about their Ugly Plate Special for €10…