As we stood at the cocktail bar, downstairs in Nenagh’s Peppermill, waiting to pay the bill, I had a momentary flash. Wouldn’t it be nice if, just this once, the barman poured us a surprise pair of complimentary shots? This happens occasionally abroad, but rarely in Ireland. It seemed and felt apt, yet still highly unlikely. Well, proprietor Robert Gill must have a finely tuned sixth sense, for out popped two shot glasses, and in went black sambuca.
As this suggests, The Peppermill does customer service effortlessly and assuredly. For our Saturday visit both the ground floor bar and first floor restaurant were humming. But the Peppermill pleases its clientele however busy, whatever day of the week.
The Peppermill’s wine list was short but varied. Our Italian Dogajola Rosso Toscano (€29.00) 2011 revealed a violet and blackberry nose, with brambly berries coming through in the flavour. A well integrated wine, hints of wood, cherry and vanilla were also present.
First courses continued the feeling of smooth consistency. For one, it was house salad of feta cheese and pomegranate with toasted pecan nuts, garden leaves, aged balsamic, honey and orange dressing (€7.95). An excellent choice, pomegranate and pecans added zip and crunch respectively, feta brought salt and substance while the flat parsley added a new, necessary taste note to the leaves. Perhaps the dressing could have been more apparent, but otherwise, an assured start.
My companion had beetroot, red onion and pickled orange tart tatin with whipped Bluebell Fall goat’s cheese and candied pecan nuts (€8.95). This was devoured with delight, the whipped goat’s cheese being especially moreish, its warming, creamy freshness contrasting well with the darker, savoury purple main body of the dish.
First mains of rack of Irish lamb, crunchy herb crust with finely diced veg and rosemary jus (€24.95) was well presented, well cooked and well, really tasty. Lamb was cooked perfectly, so its flavour oozed while its texture was a joy to chew on. Rosemary reduction and herb crust were such that the whole dish felt knitted together expertly.
Second main – roast stuffed duckling, half roast duck on traditional potato stuffing with piquant orange and ginger sauce (€25.50) – wasn’t quite as consistent. Ordering half duck rather than duck breast meant there were a lot more parts to the piece of meat, and thus too much of a grisly edge on one side. Nevertheless, the main part of the meat was very well cooked, juicy and tender with excellent structure. The contrasting sauce was especially mouthwatering. Mash underneath the duck and mash as a side dish meant there was probably too much mash all round.
For dessert, my partner had tangy lemon moose, rhubarb and homemade ginger biscuits (€6). This simple but beautiful looking course was luscious without, thankfully, being too sweet.
My own was a double chocolate flourless gateau, with passionfruit mascarpone, tropical anglaise and chocolate cigar (€6). As Eamon Dunphy might say, this was good but not great. Again, and preferably, not too sweet, the chocolate wasn’t as noteworthy as expected. That said, the mascarpone topping added a delightful zing.
All told, The Peppermill delivers both upstairs and downstairs, and is exceptionally consistent.
We loved customer service, atmosphere, starters
We spent €113.50 (excluding tip)
The Peppermill Restaurant and Wine Bar
Tel + 353 (0)67 34598;