Monaghan serves up some fine Spanish fare

by Gazette Reporter

THIS week The Picky Eater took a trip out of Dublin to sample a restaurant on the border.
Tapas de Noche in Monaghan town (located at No 1, Russell Court, Broad Road; 047 72654) is relatively newly opened and the town was in dire need of somewhere that little bit different to eat out in.
If you were not after standard hotel fare, or an Indian or Chinese speciality, then you were unlucky to be in Monaghan …
However, this place is offering rustic Spanish cooking with a little bit of Italian thrown in for good measure.
We visited on a Saturday, so the small restaurant was hopping, with the lovely Spanish guitar music playing in the background adding to the distinctly Mediterranean feel.
The service was prompt and friendly. Our party of three ordered several small dishes from the menu, which isn’t huge. We also went for a couple of specials from a blackboard; one of these being Moules Mariniere, a favourite of Picky’s.
We also ordered melanzane parmigiana, prawns pil pil, potatoes of the day, and a couple of small pasta dishes, a spaghetti with prosciutto e piselli and al olio with prawns.
The melanzane was flavoursome and moreish and is definitely Picky’s favourite way to cook and eat aubergines. There were plenty of juices left over to mop up with some crusty breads.
The moules were delicate and succulent and, again, the creamy sauce offered plenty of soakage for the bread.
The pasta special, or prosciutto and peas, was delicious and full of flavour; however, the prawn pasta could have used a little more seasoning and garlic.
Prawns pil pil had a huge amount of kick – just how Picky likes them – and the prawns were huge and delicious.
Potatoes of the day were layered in cream with leeks and bacon and certainly hit the spot.
There are a handful of desserts on the menu, and we went for a tiramisu, which was the right amount of cream and coffee. A fudge cream is a lovely light dessert made from natural yoghurt, cream and liquer, topped off with hazelnuts and brown sugar. Yum.
We ordered a bottle of the house white wine, a Baron Del Rey rioja, which is a really easy drink and went well with the Spanish and Italian flavours.
With wine and coffee, the bill came to €81 for three of us. If your are on your way to the North, or are staying in Monaghan for any occasion, this little gem of a restaurant is well worth the visit.

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