I was brimming with curiosity when I heard of Milesian – a restaurant in Castlegregory that was the talk of the town and being back home in the Kerry for a month or so, I was definitely up for something new.
A cottage-style restaurant in the heart of the Irish countryside and teamed with great food, it sounded like the perfect evening out with friends.
Phone: 086 362 1984
We were a party of six and after making our way from various corners of the Kingdom, we were looking forward to having a good night out.
In Irish mythology, the Milesians were descendants of Míl Espáine – who displaced the Tuatha Dé Danann in Ireland. The restaurant itself was established 20 years ago as a family run business, with head chef Greg O’Mahoney taking over in 2010.
The place was bustling and on a wet and generally miserable night, it was a delight to peek in the window and see cheerful looking faces munching away at their meals and sipping wine.
We arrived slightly early and were directed across the road to one of local pubs where we ordered a round and spied a French couple tucking into the most divine looking cote de boeuf (later we discovered that they were in fact eating food from Milesian, who brought food over from the restaurant for those who hadn’t booked in advance – clever thinking).
After 15 minutes we shuffled back to the restaurant and made our way to the loft area where we would be dining for the night.
The menu sat on one page, with a simple mixture of meat and fish and as our drink orders were being taken, my eyes wandered towards the Kerry mountain lamb and the chargrilled monkfish (as it turned out for whatever reason they were out of monkfish so that make my decision all the more easier!)
Service was swift and my seared tuna starter with various purées and vegetables turned out to be fresh and simple, with the flavours doing all of the talking – I quickly polished the lot and one my companions remarked that his soup tasted incredibly homely. It was off to a winning start.
As we waited for our mains, I eyed up the cottage’s features and although the paintings, Irish maps, books and various memorabilia dotted around, the place didn’t feel too twee with modern music and not trad piping through the speakers.
Less The Quiet Man and more an upscale country kitchen, the menu suited the location and the place held an atmosphere of warmth and homeliness.
I absolutely adore lamb and when it arrived I was surprised by the generous portion. Sitting on a bed of Basque-style potatoes, five slices looked at me and I greedily tucked into them.
The lamb was undoubtedly tender but despite the meat being demolished by our table in less than 20 minutes, there were little things about it that niggled at me.
The dish itself wasn’t particularly hot and I felt like the potatoes were lacking in seasoning and any major oomph. I knew that the highlight was obviously the lamb but felt it needed more of a lift to be outstanding. It was hard to tell whether I was meant to combine the potatoes with the purées or the lamb and so I was left with some guesswork with flavour – yes, it was very, very good, but considering that I was forking out almost €23 for it, I wanted it to be stunning.
So far the evening was like a wave, I had a high with the tuna and then a slight lull with lamb and I hoped to hop up again with dessert.
I had noticed a few wibbly-wobbly panna cottas making their way to nearby tables and was intrigued by the fact that they were said to be infused by basil. Fingers crossed, I thought, this would be it.
Thankfully, I wasn’t disappointed.
The herb panna cotta was light with a hint of the basil running through it and though it was teamed with a rather glorified granola (a spoonful at most), it proved to be rather delightful. Heaped on a spoon with the strawberries, the flavours were summery and fresh.
I managed to nab a bit of the chocolate brownie and when our dishes and drinks had been cleared, we all agreed that the meal had been, all-in-all, a success.
For a party of six the total was quite respectable, two of us didn’t have wine with only three of us going for starters and five of us for dessert.
Overall the service and food was very much above average and I’m very much looking forward to coming back again soon.