“Will we go somewhere tomorrow?” It’s the height of Summer, the weather is good and Ali and myself have a couple of days off. After researching various attractions within an hour of Newbridge, we decide that we’ll visit Dunmore Caves before heading into Kilkenny City for lunch and a stroll around. I have a secret love for caves. When I was young I was an avid rock collector, endlessly examining them under the microscope without ever really knowing what I was looking for – I was just fascinated by them! One of my favourite memories of primary school was a school tour to caves (it could well have been to Dunmore actually!) and being completely enthralled by the incredible stalagmites and stalactites.
Our tour around the caves isn’t quite as I remember it – the massive rock formations that I remember are somewhat more modest through my now 29 year old eyes. It’s still well worth the visit and at only €5 for the guided tour; it’s a cost-effective way to enjoy an hour. While Ali is driving the short drive into Kilkenny City, I’m scouring the internet for lunch recommendations. One place keeps coming up – Zuni.
We arrive at 2.15 and are offered the choice of eating in the restaurant or the bar. The menu is the same so we choose the bar – I always feel more at ease in a less formal setting. The bar is busy, with lots of business types enjoying their lunch. It’s clean and stylish with an impressive array of drinks on offer. The menu is well thought out with something to suit everyone. Starters, mains and desserts are joined by a good array of sandwiches and an impressive list of wines by the glass. I settle on the Puglian Sangiovese – just a taster in advance of our holiday in Puglia next month. I decide on the Pan Fried Hake, Ali choosing the Soup of the Day – Carrot and Coriander.
The food arrives quickly. Flakey and moist, the hake is well seasoned and perfectly cooked. The accompanying salad is wonderfully dressed with the added surprise of delicious new potatoes underneath. It’s the perfect lunch dish – filling without being heavy, while the cucumber and peppers provide just the right hit of freshness. I’m very happy with my choice. Ali’s soup is equally as good. Generous, rich and well seasoned, it has just the right amount of coriander so that it doesn’t take over. With such a generous portion, I get to finish the end of it.
We decide against dessert and instead have a browse around the city before stopping in Mocha’s Vintage Tea Rooms for tea and a delicious lemon curd cake before heading home. A good day out.
Zuni Restaurant & Boutique Hotel 26 Patrick Street Kilkenny 056 77 23999 firstname.lastname@example.org zuni.ie