Kendal’s Restaurant is a French Brasserie offering a more casual dining option at the luxury Mount Juliet estate in Kilkenny. Mount Juliet is a wonderful place; the main house is a vision of design from the outside and the sumptuous interior is warm and inviting. The Michelin starred Lady Helen restaurant looks out over the river Nore and beyond to the parkland fields where horses graze.
The bar and drawing rooms are to the front of the house where one can relax in front of a roaring fire catching up on the week’s papers, or enjoy afternoon tea in The Presidents Bar; a sumptuous affair of tiered fresh sandwiches, scones and pastries.
A sweeping staircase leads to the rooms where we were put in some comfort in a suite. We visited en famille and after spending some time in the leisure centre we headed back to our suite to unwind after a hectic week and prepare for dinner. A car from the main house dropped us to Kendal’s as it was a cold, blustery November evening and there is something quite wonderful about be whisked around in a limousine; it’s all a bit rock star and the children loved it..
Kendal’s restaurant is a large, open room with a high wooden beamed ceiling, panelled walls and a large stone feature fire place to the rear; all very Swiss chalet like in style. Draped white silks hung from the rafters and purple chairs add a splash of colour.
Picture windows range round the room and in the middle of mid-term it was very busy, with visiting families like us opting for the more casual dining option at Mount Juliet. It was the perfect family setting and we were made to feel welcome immediately.
We ordered still water for the table, vodkas & slim line tonic for the adults and juices for the girls. Homemade breads were brought to the table as we studies the menus and we happily nibbled on white and brown sodas and some cumin & cheddar rolls.
The wine list was extensive and spread over five pages, reds and whites were broken into the house choices and the classics with prices starting at €26 for a Via Nova Pinot Grigio to €75 for a 2010 Chateauneuf Du Pape. Then for those of you looking for something slightly more adventurous or for a new find there was a selection of Discoveries and Great Finds to include a Portuguese Tuella Vinho Tinto or a Spanish Lucero Del Alba. Of course there were some great Champagnes and a selection of wines by the glass and half bottles. We decided to go with the New Zealand Kapuka sauvignon Blanc - a true Marlborough - light and bright with a refreshing citrus aroma.
Starters were a list of seven ranging in price from €7.50 for the creamed broccoli soup or a ham hock terrine to €11 for a goats cheese croquette. Also available was a roasted pear salad, steamed mussels or a salad Lyonnaise. To follow there were six great choices, including a vegetarian option of wild mushroom and tarragon tortellini for €14. There were several seafood options including Duncannon seafood, pan fried fillet of cod or a whole Goatsbridge trout all priced around the €24 mark, while slow cooked pork belly, chicken supreme and 21 day dry-aged Hereford beef comprising of an 8oz fillet or a 10oz sirloin served with all the trimmings were €31 and €28 respectively.
The girls were easy; they ordered the chicken noodle soup followed with home-made burgers and chips off the children’s menu. I started with the risotto of the day; wild mushroom which was beautifully presented, creamy in texture and full of flavour. My better half decided to have the steamed Duncannon mussels served in a rich tomato sauce and some crispy sourdough bread, which were delicious, and I had to steal one or two.
I followed with the whole Goatsbridge trout which was stuffed with toasted pine nuts and a citrus couscous and came with new potatoes. I think our server didn’t believe I could finish the ‘whole’ trout, but I happily proved him wrong. Fred had the roast rump of lamb which was served on a bed of pea puree and accompanied by buttered broad beans, carrots and creamed potato drizzled with a thyme jus.
Both dishes were perfectly executed and left us with little room for dessert, but we’re nothing if not dogged in the interests of research. We broke for a bit and enjoyed our wine before we decided to have a look.
Desserts tempted with freshly baked raspberry Madelines, poached plums with almond sponge, balsamic roasted strawberries, apple tartin or a chocolate and hazelnut moelleux. We really couldn’t find the room, so while the girls had strawberries with chocolate we improvised and ordered coffee liquors; Baileys for himself and Kahlua for myself.
We had a wonderful evening and enjoyed a brisk walk through the trees back to the luxury of the main house. For a more casual offering with all the splendour of Mount Juliet Kendal’s is the perfect choice, and won’t break the bank. I imagine it’s very popular for Sunday lunch, and indeed that would be a great intro to Mount Juliet.