“Most of us have fond memories of food from our childhood. Whether it was our mom’s homemade lasagna or a memorable chocolate birthday cake, food has a way of transporting us back to the past”. This is exactly what Scholars Hotel did for me. From the first moment I walked in until I left.
We decided to meet some friends for dinner. They live in Drogheda and love Scholars Hotel. Myself and my husband have never tried it and were looking forward to a night away. The hotel is very much a Boutique Hotel. On site car park and lovely steps leading up to the main doors. Greeted at reception with a friendly smile, and a great buzz coming from the bar. Walked up one flight of stairs and was led to a hallway with dim lighting. Not the clinical hallways you get in some hotels. The room was small but very clean. Nice big shower. Quick change and it was time to meet our friends.
As we arrived for dinner Mark McGowan greeted us and showed us to our table, where our friends where waiting on us. First thing I noticed was the quirky table napkins, so loved them, so want to steal the idea. The obvious hand painted frescoes of the Battle of the Boyne takes you through history, this is a great idea, I love it, The McGowan family are very proud of their routes and so they should be, its clear from the design right through what follows on the plate. The Restaurant has some fabulous mirrors and paintings. The feel here is of a “Historic One” of course, but they have managed to make the room romantic and I can clearly see it suiting young and old alike. A lovely glass of prosecco, compliments from Mark, was a very welcome starter. Our food was ordered. Some lovely fresh bread was presented and 2 lovely slices to suit my dietary requirements. The bread was of course very fresh, its made in-house. There was butter on the table and some ( I think) aubergine paste. It’s so simple to do and i don’t know why other restaurants don’t serve bread to the table.
We got a lovely Amuse Bouche, Dunany crab with chilli and coriander, on granary crostini, cucumber gel,pickled cucumber. Just perfect to get our taste buds working and it did, it was perfect with the Prosecco, the flavors matched. Spot on.
Next up was our starter, this was a new addition to the menu, and me been very bold and enjoying our evening I didn’t pay much attention to what it was. Thinking I could revert back later to the menu. What I remember was that the dish was my favourite from the whole evening. The potato was incredible. My pet hate with mussels is when they are served out of the shell, but I can’t complain about it this time, they were simply lovely. Would return for this dish.
A lovely Palate cleanser was next. Amazing coconut favors. Just the right amount. We were really having a lovely evening. The service was not intrusive and extremely polite. The staff were very knowledgeable about the food and wine. The restaurant was nice and busy and we were having a great time. Scholars were ticking all the right boxes. Our main course were coming, I ordered Cod, I was curious as the dish had a lot of Indian elements, Roast Spiced Cod With Masala Puree, Prawn Bhaji, Yellow Pea Dhal, Pickled Carrot & Coconut Foam. The Dhal came on the side at my request as it had some butter, I did taste a little. Very different from my usual Indian Dhal, it would have accompanied the Cod dish perfectly. The cod was cooked just perfect, the Indian flavors worked really well with it. I think the dish was executed to a very high standard, I remember comparing it to Chapter One. The coconut foam was a very nice touch, simple but very elegant. The flavor of coconut wasn’t lost. I sometimes find that chefs concentrate on the main elements of their dish and sometimes the extras are left behind, but not here, the dish was completely flawless.
Next up was dessert. I don’t ever really have dessert, for a few reasons, one is, been lactose intolerant, the other been offered a very boring fruit salad. The waiter came to check on us, and I did my usual sentence, ” I don’t think there is anything I can have” and to my pleasant surprise there were 3 desserts that I could choose from. But once I heard pernod homemade sorbet, I was sold, and OMG is was amazing.
Michael Hunter is the Head Chef here and has a great team working behind him. We met Matthias Ecker, who is a very energetic and focused young chef. The hotel recently was awarded Two AA Rosettes for Culinary Excellence. Well done to all involved. Looking forward to returning for some afternoon tea.