The Candied Walnut
I’m wickedly hungry. Having stayed up until almost 3am watching “The People vs OJ Simpson” on netflix, I eventually manage to drag myself out of the bed at 11.30. I have a coffee but it’s too late to have something to eat, we have booked to have lunch at The Candied Walnut and I have no intention of ruining my appetite. We manage to get through the horrendous traffic on the way into Naas and eventually arrive about twenty minutes late but it’s no problem. The staff are all very welcoming and helpful as we fluster about for a minute removing wet jackets and settling into our seats. My brother is feeling self-conscious – he had spilled coffee all over his t-shirt and jeans in the car on the way over and now looks like a man who has had a bathroom accident.
The Candied Walnut is at the top of Naas town and parking is relatively easy to find, even on a busy Friday afternoon. The restaurant is large but still quite intimate with soft lighting and elegant decor. The lunch menu is thought out and well priced with daily specials notated on the blackboard close to the spectacularly large kitchen hatch – it’s almost like watching the chefs work on a widescreen TV. I order the Chefs Soup of the Day (Celeriac and Mustard) for start and the House Pie Special (Slow Cooked Beef) for main. Before our starter, a chef’s taster – Mushroom and Truffle Soup, arrives to our table in espresso cups. It’s creamy and well seasoned, a nice touch and the perfect way to start our meal.
Our starters arrive quickly. My soup is exactly as I would have hoped. Not too rich, it’s perfectly seasoned with the gentle heat of the mustard floating just under the surface. The accompanying brown bread is also a delight, it’s firm textured and dotted with walnuts, naturally. My father’s choice of Seafood Chowder is also making my mouth water, it’s full of fresh, succulent fish and has given me just a slight dose of food envy – actually no, I’m happy with my choice, the perfect starter to a gutsy pie.
The lunch trade can be a difficult one to master as most people only have an hour to dine but The Candied Walnut has it well sussed. The mains arrive soon after the empty starter plates are removed. My pie is outstanding. Meltingly tender beef in a deep flavoured, perfectly seasoned sauce topped with fluffy mash. I like that the vegetables in the pie have retained some texture, it’s these little things that set some restaurants apart. The accompanying steamed vegetables however, do suffer from being a little bland but with the pie being so good it’s easily forgiven.
We’re all pretty stuffed. My Dad, who has had chowder and the pie decides to forgoe dessert altogether but, having ordered the less filling soup to start with I’m willing to give it a go. It’s a good decision as my Warm Sticky Toffee Pudding, Butterscotch Sauce, Vanilla Ice Cream is not only the best sticky toffee pudding I’ve ever had but is possibly the best dessert I’ve ever eaten. It’s light yet rich, sweet, sticky and comforting with dots of creme patisserie and candied walnuts dotted on the plate. The meal is rounded off with a smooth espresso – a wonderful lunch.
The bill is surprisingly manageable and although three courses might be a little expensive on a daily basis, I’d quite happily come in for a chowder and coffee as a midweek treat.
Very Highly Recommended
The Candied Walnut
1 Fairgreen Street
045 883 869