So off I went on a Friday night arranging to meet a friend in the Lane Cafe Bar before descending the swirling staircase to Cellar One. The bar was full of friends warming up for the weekend, with Cocktails and Tapas and plenty of lively conversation. Likewise the restaurant was busy but with well appointed tables no one group intruded on another, and we were spared the noisy bistro atmosphere in favour of a quieter cosy ambiance. A pianist played softly and unobtrusively beside the staircase, the colours and decor while very bright and trendy were comfortable also, so the whole thing worked very well indeed.
There is both a Set Menu which offers excellent value and also a new A La Carte with even more options. The dishes sounded tempting, in fact there were about six starters that I wanted to try including Scallops and Duck Wontons, but in the end I opted for the Monkfish wrapped in Smoked Bacon on a bed of Spinach. My friend ordered the beautifully presented Goats Cheese atop a Potato & Herb Rosti with Caramelised Figs and Red Wine Jus. This was a colourful and beautifully balanced starter. The Fillet of Pork wrapped in Serrano Ham also came with Rosti - this time made with a lovely grated Sweet Potato. The dish worked well and portion size was perfect. Sticking with fish, I chose the Seabass which was fresh and moist and I loved the crunch of the Tiger Prawns on the side.
All the dishes are well thought out and good menu descriptions make for much clearer choices. But it was the Dessert Menu that came in for particular praise. While we chose a Berry Crumble and a Tasting Plate of Desserts respectively, had we had more room we would certainly have chosen the cheeses. A whole page is given to cheese descriptions with Cooleeny, Boile and Wicklow Blue flying the Irish flag, with more unusual Italian Taleggio and British Wenslydale completing the selection. Tasting Notes accompany each cheese and no French Cheeses or the usual Irish suspects appear. I loved the originality here, and whoever put this selection together certainly knows and likes their cheeses!
The wine list was well chosen for both quality and value with Pannier Champagne, Michel Torino Malbec and Old Coach Road Pinot Noir all examples of quality wines that are particularly well priced. Service was friendly, efficient and informed and there was a genuine wish to please. When we were told the Venison was no longer available and we said we had wanted to order it not least for the accompanying Spiced Baby Pear - lo and behold, our waitress brought us two baby pears compliments of the kitchen! Now, thats the kind of service I love.
This is a Killarney restaurant well recommended by Hotel Reviews Ireland. Find out more on www.theross.ie