On a lovely afternoon in the Boyne Valley we headed to Slane Castle for Lunch. Brownes bar is new and I had heard raving reviews. 

Living a short distance from Slane I had never been to the Castle before. Which is a real shame.  As we drove up to the castle it looked amazing. Fabulous grounds and something  so magical about it. 

The entrance into Brownes is really special. Decorated with out door chairs and planters. A really nice walk to the front door. You could close your eyes and imagine been a princess The weather was so good we could have been anywhere. But the real beauty was that we weren’t just anywhere, we were in The Boyne Valley. 

We were lucky to get a table. It was very busy. We opted to sit inside, as nice as it was outside it was a tad cold . Menus dropped by a very polite young girl. 

Really nice information on the menu telling us the story about where the Bar got its name. I can confirm I was as relaxed as Ms Browne was. It was nice to sit there and try to imagine what it looked like back then. 

The menu was limited for me, as I don’t eat red meat or cheese. The only fish option was crab claws and I wasn’t in the mood for this. I did see other guests enjoying them and they looked delicious. But for me I went for a dessert and coffee. Doughnuts with strawberrys. Flavours were Jam and Salted Caramel. Absolutely delicious. So soft and fresh and just the right amount of filling. Coming back again for this and just might treat myself to a glass of prosecco. 

The only criticism I have and it’s not a major one, it seemed to be over staffed, with this leaving the service a bit sloppy, everyone seemed to be a bit like “busy fools” It was difficult to get anyones attention to get the bill. Saying that however it was a very relaxed afternoon and I can’t wait to return with friends. 

A short trip home to Mayo last week and on our way back to Navan  we stopped off at Cafe Rua for lunch. I have read so many great things about this place and I was really looking forward to trying it. 

They were full when we arrived, and we decided to wait for a table and check out the menu boards. The cafe itself is fun and very casual. Lots of different people enjoying from family to friends. 

Once a table became free, we were sat by a very friendly waitress. There was so many great options to choose from . 

I decided on the Free Range Egg and Tuna and potato salad. It was a great choice.  The basil Mayo was to die for. A great portion. Fresh and full of flavours. I ordered some of their home made lemonade also. Very refreshing. 

My mom had the Chicken Salad and my sister had the Mayo Mezze Board, both declared it was fabulous. 

It’s going to be a stop off for me on my journeys back in future. 

They open late on Friday evenings also. I’d say it’s a real cosy spot to sit in. 

Well done to all involved, great to see another successful place serving great local and Irish food. 

Scholars Hotel

“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. wpid-20150308_190354.jpgThe 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. wpid-20150308_191320.jpgThe 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.

wpid-20150308_200738.jpgA lovely Palate cleanser was next. Amazing coconut favors.wpid-20150308_203039.jpg  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. wpid-20150308_204533.jpg

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.

20150308_221408Michael 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.