Tim Tangs restaurant in Ashbourne in Co.Meath is contemporary,busy, beautifully designed and once inside you could be anywhere from Dublin to Dubai. You will also have the best Chinese food in Ireland.
Eatzen has been in Ashbourne for six years now and has built a loyal and enthusiastic following. The restaurant is in the town centre complex, on the first floor, and the interior is as cool and sexy as you'd get anywhere. The room is divided by a curved wall that separates the main seating area of tables and chairs from raised booths that run along the back wall. At one end there is a glitzy private dining room behind glass walls that is also the poshest karaoke room in the country. Eatzen is like that – contemporary, cool and quirky – and it works really well. On a Friday evening they were as busy as usual, recession or depression or whatever is going on not withstanding. The crowd is glamorous, ages are mixed and there is a definite buzz about it all.
But enough about that, Eatzen is about food. Really good food. Myself and better half Deirdre were paying a long over-due visit and really wanted to see what Eatzen could do, so we went off menu and asked Tim to pick the dishes. He asked us some questions about what we liked and after being served water and wine, we soon found ourselves with starters of smoked duck on bamboo shoots, served cold, and deep-fried prawns and calamari rings served hot with chili sauce. Both were excellent but the duck was particularly memorable. I like to cook duck myself, but the falvour and texture from this dish were exquisite. I was left wondering if the main courses could maintain this standard.
We received three main courses. First up was sea bass with sliced green pepper, onion and lots of whole cloves of garlic, which had been roasted and which we initially mistook for cashew nuts. The dish was served with the carcass of the fish, battered and deep fried, creating a model of its former self, and a great effect on the plate. Fabulous dish. Next was chicken in rice wine and mushrooms and celery. Great presentation again and great flavours. Our last main course was scallops, stir-fried with spring onions and whole dried chillies. We love scallops and again this dish was faultless. The main courses were accompanied by fried noodles with onion and bamboo shoots, and steamed rice, both perfectly cooked.
After a break we shared a dessert of chocolate, accompanied by two coffees. I was driving but Deirdre enjoyed two glasses of Savignon Blanc. A couple of years back Paolo said
“All in all this meal, which was served with efficiency and professionalism, was of a quality I'd only before encountered in Singapore. It wasn't just the lack of culinary cliches - like shredded duck with plum sauce - it was novel, skilful and very sophisticated cuisine. Finding such authentic and excellent Chinese food in Ireland would be remarkable in itself, but finding it outside the capital made was all the more of a surprise.
If anything it has gotten better. This is the best Chinese meal I have had in years. Make a trip there soon, it really is worth it.