Mikey Ryan's pub and restaurant is on the Main Street of the picturesque town of Cashel. It has just been completely renovated by the team behind the enormous development of the Cashel Palace, so needless to say they have done a top notch job.
Ryan's faces onto the Main Street and from the front is unassuming and very traditional. Up close you start to notice the quality of the finish, and once inside it is a traditional pub, but one that has been re modelled using the best of material and not a little bit of taste.
The bar runs along the left hand side and then the room opens up, but it's not enormous, more cosy and elegant. The black flagstone floor is a thing of beauty, the stones having seams of white running through them, while the colour scheme in dark blues is restful and considered.
If you continue on, through a door at the back you enter another dimension, and a large open plan restaurant with an abundance of glass spreads out into the grounds of Cashel Palace behind. This is where we travelled to eat dinner for two on the new menu from head chef Liam Kirwan, who is a local man, originally from down the road in Clonmel, though he has come back to Tipp via stints in London and Australia.
Manager Barry McEvoy showed us to a nice table near the back of the dining room. The flagstone floor continued down here and the room features an open plan kitchen and a nice closed off section at the front. Again the decor is elegant and understated, with an excellent colour scheme, and the stemware and cutlery sparkles.
The menu is quite short but manages to tick all the necessary boxes. Starters include Ardsallagh goat’s cheese salad, home smoked salmon, sweet pickled mackerel salad and a special of pan fried scallops.
Main courses offered a homemade burger, plaice goujons and chips, a choice of steaks and a lamb and pea pie that looked delicious on someone else's plate at it passed by.
In the end we ordered as follows; Deirdre had the pickled mackerel, followed by the roast salmon, while I had the scallops followed by another special of duck. A bottle of sparkling water -Tipperary of course - and a glass of Albarinho for Deirdre completed our order.
While we waited be nibbled on some excellent homemade bread, and chatted to the American ladies at the next table, who were just 4 days into an Irish idyll and were working their way around the country, booking as they went along, and pleased to have found a lovely spot for dinner.
Mackerel is an underused fish! And here is was fresh and tangy, with just the right notes. Scallops were the opposite, creamy and sweet, almost translucent and the pea and mint purée was velvety smooth and packed a punch in terms of flavour.
Main courses continued to excite, and Deirdre’s salmon was perfectly executed, while the accompanying colcannon was deconstructed, so chucks of bacon and wilted greens, came along with creamy mash and worked very well. Confit of duck was moulded into crispy cakes and served with leaves and a red currant jelly. This is inventive, careful cooking using the best of local ingredients and flair.
We finished with a damson jam rice pudding, which was comfort food at its best and a vegan take on dark chocolate mousse made with coconut and avocado, and topped with berries. A good Americano with a special blend of beans from 3fe completed our meal, and we emerged into a warm night in Cashel, replete and relaxed having had a very enjoyable evening in Ryan's. This is a brilliant addition to the town, and a harbinger of great things when the Cashel Palace is completed.