The Picky Eater

by Staff Reporter

WHENEVER I hear Michelin Star, my mind jumps to overly formal, over the top service. I always love the food, mind you, but waiters constantly fawning over you is slightly off-putting.
When I heard about Campagne restaurant in Kilkenny, I was eager to try it as the menu seemed less fussy and less overpriced than some other establishments that hold the coveted star.
When we arrived, those views remained as the restaurant is in a very quiet part of town just below what looks like apartments or an office block. So far, nothing over the top or ostentatious anyway. Inside the dining room is very comfortable and was absolutely buzzing on a busy Saturday night.
Wood panelling and dark colours on the walls give this place a plush feel and seating was really comfortable.
The maitre d’ was a very friendly lady who took us through the specials and explained anything that might be unknown to myself and my friend.
After ordering a delicious bottle of Picpoul de Pinet (€30) (a wine that is having a bit of a moment) we jumped straight in to starters.
I went for a fois gras pate layered with a delicious butter served on an autumn fruit jelly and a toasted brioche (€16).
This was absolutely sublime but the outright winner was my pal’s scallop royale, served with Jerusalem artichokes and lobster bisque (€16).
So much thought and time had obviously gone into this outstanding dish and we spent ages trying to figure out how they made it. I won’t spoil the fun and will leave it for you to the same guessing game.
Next up came my mate’s fillet of Hereford beef with glazed mushrooms, spinach puree, ox tongue croquettes and porcini butter sauce (€32).
From a lady who is considering going vegetarian, she was certainly having fun at the wake and was almost in tears at the thought of what she was about to give up.
My poached turbot (€32) came with a similar sauce and could be eaten with a spoon, it had the perfect texture and taste.
My friend had a glass of ribera del duero (€8.25) with her meat and having lived in Spain for several years, she said it was one of the best she’d sampled outside of Spain.
A stunning side of mash and parsnips went down a treat with both dishes.
We really were not fit for anything more at this point, but seeing a hot chocolate fondant being brought to most tables, we decided this dish was obviously worth trying.
The locals were going mad for it. It was served with vanilla ice cream and glazed cherries (€9) and was certainly worth the longer waiting time.
All in all this was a fantastic experience and it’s well worth the trip to Kilkenny. T
here are lots of places to stay in the city, after all it’s a really buzzing place. We stayed slightly outside in Mount Juliet, which is a stunning old country house hotel.
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