The Westgrove Hotel is hard to miss as you enter Clane from Sallins and Assagio, their award winning Italian restaurant has been creating a bit of a stir with locals. The restaurant is located just off reception and you are greeted with wooden trellis style walls which, once it turns dark, are dotted with tea lights and candles creating an intimate, warm atmosphere.
Inside the restaurant is split over two levels and to the rear are feature burgundy walls with large, modern canvasses. The seating is a mix of cream leather banquet seating and a selection of wooden tables with high back chairs in aubergine and grey.
We were delighted to be invited to the launch of their new summer menus recently. With prosecco on arrival and music presented by Catherine on piano and Ivan playing violin this gave a very elegant feeling to the night. John Carolan, executive head chef alongside Eric the restaurant manager and Jerry Russell GM have worked very much together on this over the past few months.
The menu was a 4-course tasting affair, giving you a feel of everything you could expect to see on their a la carte next time you visit. Antipasti offered a selection of four starters including an antipasto misto, a selection of Italian cured meats, chargrilled vegetables and some great cheeses; a trio of bruschetta served with a green olive tapenade, tomato shallot & balsamic with mascarpone & roasted peppers; fritto misto which was a mix of fried seafood including calamari, prawns and monkfish accompanied with courgette homemade basil mayonnaise and finally polpette al Pomodoro, otherwise known as Italian meatballs in a spicy red pepper & tomato sauce.
Second course was a taste of three dishes, specialita ‘Assagio’ & margherita pizza, spicy meatballs, salami & parma ham; linguine con Gamberoni e coda di rospo all ‘Arrabbiata’, a great mix of tiger prawn & Dunmore East monkfish tossed in linguine pasta and smothered in the best Arrabiatta sauce and also a tasty risotto of mushroom and white truffle oil.
When it came to the main course I was really wondering where I was going to put it as there were some fabulous choices including the one I had really been looking forward to, a fillet of crispy sea bass served with broccoli, broad beans and a fondant potato; an 8oz fillet of beef in a red wine Barolo sauce and a pork cutlet Milanese style. Desserts were a choice of four all time favourites from traditional tiramisu, a selection of Irish & Italian cheeses, Wexford strawberries served with a cracked black pepper ice cream which sounded like it would never work but really did and also a mascarpone cheese & blood orange panna cotta.
The wine list was presented by Jacob & Ivan from Findlater wines. There were two whites to accompany the starters, a Solandia, Grillo a Sicilian wine which had a savoury taste with a taste of almond or a Tormaresca chardonnay, a fresh dry wine. There were also two reds which were chosen to go with the second and main course which were a Solandia, Nero D’Avola and a Tormaresca Neprica.
Since John Carolan joined Westgrove from the K Club he has been creating a stir with the food, and Assagio has become a very popular neighbourhood restaurant. The hotel has other attractions of course including The Oak Bar and a great leisure centre for the family or spa for chill out time.
Having visited Assagio on numerous occasions this was definitely an evening to remember, the food was fabulously executed with great choices and a fusion of interesting flavours. We would highly recommend stopping off the next time you are passing by.