I can vaguely remember my only previous visit to Annamar’s in Kildare Town. I was with my grandparents and I was pretty young. I remember being blown away by the food, as only a ten year old could be. So blown away in fact that, up until I was about 20, I still considered it to be my favourite restaurant. Fast-forward about 17 years and, after receiving a voucher from my brother, Ali and I returned.
Annamar’s is a French restaurant on Station Road in Kildare. It’s in a little bit of an odd location out of the town centre but that shouldn’t put you off. The decor is warm and inviting with a medium sized dining room offering a view into the kitchen through a large hatch. We were greeted on arrival by the host/owner who showed us to our seats. It was a quiet evening with just two other tables occupied. Maybe because of this, I could only count one other member of staff with the owner on the floor and a lady in the kitchen.
After a browse through the menu we both decided on the mussel cassolette starter. I ordered the game plate for main while Ali went for the steak. Unfortunately they were out of steak but the owner kindly recommended the venison fillet special for the same price (as part of the 3 courses for €34.00 set dinner) which was a nice touch considering there were plenty of other options on the set menu. As expected with so few staff the service was a little slow, we were there for just over two hours for a three course meal.
The starter was beautiful with a generous portion of mussels with plenty of butter, cherry tomatoes and wonderful croutons. The seasoning was perfect too, a good start. The mains were also excellent. I would have preferred my duck rare but I didn’t request this and medium was still delicious. The pheasant was perfectly cooked and the accompanying red wine jus was perfect. Ali’s venison fillet was also cooked beautifully and was joined on the plate by a pastry topped venison bourguignon which was rich and comforting. The potato and vegetable extras were also very nice. One thing I didn’t understand was the addition of pesto to both plates, it didn’t work with the game and red wine jus but if it was present just to add colour I’d much rather it was just left off. The red onion cup with quinoa inside had a similar problem, looked well but added little.
It was getting late at this stage and we were thinking of forgoing dessert. We thought better of it though with Ali going for the tasting plate of desserts while I chose the cheese board. I love that the cheese was served with melba toast. I much prefer bread or toast to crackers as it allows the flavour of the cheese to come through without distraction. All of the cheeses were nice but the board did miss a blue option and a little more flavour contrast would have been nice. Ali loved her dessert with the millefeuille being a particular highlight. After a rather dull double espresso it was time to head home, a little later than expected.
Overall we enjoyed our meal at Annamar’s. It was all beautifully cooked and seasoned while the portions were generous. The service, although friendly and helpful was a bit too slow, no one person can do everything. Despite this I would recommend it for a meal, just don’t be in a hurry home. We paid €78 for 2 x three course meals, a large bottle of sparkling water, a late, a double espresso and two sides. Good value.
Overall: 3.5/5 Recommended