The Signal Restaurant at the Station House Hotel is now one of Meath’s leading hotel and restaurants. Once upon a time, there was a railway that ran through Kilmessan, and just as the name suggests, The Station House was the stop.
Present owners Thelma and Chris Slattery along with daughter Denise now operate this family run business and have built it up from a small guesthouse into the destination and popular wedding venue it is today.
The railway ran through what is now the car park and the one-time signal box, a standalone building, has been prettily converted into a bridal suite. That's worth mentioning, because there are extensive grounds full of flowers and flowering shrubs to explore, and nestled in them is the old locomotive turntable, where wedding ceremonies are performed in the round.
Inside, there's a kind of chintzy comfort -- big comfy chairs in the lounge, plenty of dark wood and brass. Not surprisingly, the leitmotif is of railway memorabilia. There are prints on the walls and lots of artefacts that all make reference to the building's earlier incarnation. Even the door stop at the front door is a cast locomotive.
Back in the 1900’s this was a working train station, and the entire theme of the hotel is based on that. From The Platform Bar to the Signal Restaurant and all the memorabilia dotted around the hotel. On our recent visit we were given the Signal Suite, generally used for the bride & groom on their special day, and we were blown away. This is a detached two-storey building nestled between the main hotel and the function room, surrounded by the most beautifully manicured gardens and terraces. It would originally have been the signal cabin, but now the most romantic getaway.
Enjoying a pre-dinner drink in the bar, mine a Bombay Sapphire gin with slimline tonic and his own a pint of Heineken we browsed the menus. The early bird menu runs daily from 5-7pm, offering exceptional value with 2-courses for €21.50 and 3-courses at €28.50, or you can opt for the a la carte which has a slightly wider offering.
The wine list is quite long, and exceptionally well matched to the menu, so you wont have any trouble finding a wine to complement your food. We chose to go by the glass as I prefer a white and he likes a good red. The mark-up here is very fair, so you can enjoy some very good wine without breaking the bank.
Before the meal began a selection of three different breads were brought to the table, Guinness; treacle and tomato & chorizo, all exceptionally good and fresh from the kitchen, accompanied by a homemade pesto and a salsa. Within the restaurant chef ensures to source his ingredients locally, supporting the surrounding family businesses.
Wanting to be able to enjoy the 3-courses, and eyes bigger than our tummies we decided to share a starter and dessert. To start one of my all time favourites, piri piri prawns which were so tender it was as if they had been taken straight from the ocean, served with a mixed leaf salad & lemon dressing allowing the flavours to speak for themselves. This was accompanied with the tomato & chorizo bread to mop up the juice and was delicious.
Sticking to the sea I enjoyed pan-fried hake which was so succulent and perfectly cooked au pointe. It was accompanied with creamy herb mashed potato, broccoli and carrots, and the lemon beurre blanc sauce was so delicate and sweet.
My partner decided on the Kilmessan lamb, which came as two very generous double chops off the rack, served with dangerously good potato gratin. Just as we thought everything had been served chef sent out crushed potato with ratatouille, and I have to say it was absolutely delicious.
When it came to dessert Emma recommended the home-made brown bread ice-cream. While I wouldn’t normally be an ice-cream fan, when she mentioned Baileys I just had to try it. There is something very comforting about well made ice cream, and this one was homemade and delicious.
After dinner we retired to the bar with our coffee, and enjoyed the view of the terrace in all its glory with the scattering of lights showcasing the grounds in all their glory. This was most certainly one of the most memorable and fabulous overnight escapes, we will definitely be back and would highly recommend it.