Preachers Restaurant in the village of Doon, Co. Limerick is breathtakingly beautiful. Some people do church conversions, some people really do it in style, and then you have the type that must have been done by an acolyte by a certain perfectionist beer company. The attention to detail and restoration of the interior of this beautiful stone building has been lovingly carried out and diners can enjoy sitting on carved wooden pews while looking up at original stained glass windows.
So far, so good, and that’s just the setting. The food doesn’t disappoint on any level. Chef Noel Keane has recently been appointed and his true colours are coming through with this menu of locally sourced and free range meats and cheeses where he employs classic techniques with some punchy surprises.
The Dressed Crab with Mango Salad and Gazpacho Dressing is a lively starter, bursting with exciting Caribbean flavours and a chilli kick. The Duck Confit with Baby Potato Salad and Truffle Oil is a classic done to perfection with the duck melting from the bone; sweet and tender, just as it should be. Don’t be fooled by the understatedly named Lobster Salad, this little beauty is poached in butter, delicious and rich and perfectly matched to the vegetable spaghetti.
Choosing a main is difficult with guinea fowl, duck and fresh fish of the day on the menu. The Trio of Local Pork (from Crowe’s Farm) has the surprise of a smoked pork chop, a real delight alongside the slow-cooked belly and black pudding. With the sweet parsnip puree and sage and garlic jus, this dish is sumptuous, warming, full of textures and flavours and just perfect. The Chump of Lamb was as hearty and tasty a plate of food that any man or women could want.
Cheese lovers will be happy to note that their favourite comestibles are served at a cosy room temperature, as nature intended, and Keane makes all his own breads too. Deserts are real crowd pleasers from the perfect Brownie with Chocolate Sauce to the fluffy Mango Parfait and the smooth and sexy Panna Cotta.
This restaurant delivers on all counts, with a carefully selected and keenly priced wine list and one of the best house reds money will buy. I pray I can go back soon.