We’ve more than a few happy memories of whiling away our angsty teenage years in Slane village, seen as the hub for rock and roll royalty with all the best gigs being hosted at Slane Castle, it was always a beacon for too cool for school kids trying to avert security and hop over the wall for a glimpse of Axl Rose.
Fast forward twenty years and Gun’n Roses are still managing to pull in the crowds with a sell out gig at the end of May. However the castle is a very different place these days with a lot more than to offer than just the next gig for ageing rockers, a €47m investment into their new Slane Whiskey Distillery which is due to open this July is about to transform this entire property.
This investment it is hoped will add to a regeneration of Slane Village, already new premises are popping up with a renewed confidence in the air, the latest of which is a newly award winning restaurant called Inside Out.
Situated right in the heart of the village, up on the hill, is a deceptively modern and extensive venue, (previously The Poet’s Rest), opened just over five months ago, for many it has managed to fly under the radar. We took the short 30 minute drive from Dublin last Sunday as part of our #BMWTheTaste Tour, for a late afternoon booking and arrived to a fairly busy room.
As our table wasn’t ready we were shown to a cosy little snug, more reminiscent of a Parisian wine bar than a venue in the Royal County, where we scanned the menu and got a run through of the day’s specials.
Inside out is the first venture for couple James Ausden and Edel Healy, who met while working together in the Black Bull Inn Drogheda before deciding to take the bull by the horns as they say and venture out on their own.
First impressions are good with lots of greenery dotted throughout, giving the impressions of bringing the outside in (hence the name Inside Out for a clever play on words), soft fairy lighting and a feeling of sitting on Scandi terrace with white washed floors finish off a comfortable and unique dining space.
The menu is well thought out and very family friendly with a stone hearth oven churning out good quality pizzas which will definitely keep the little ones happy. The usual neighbourhood suspects of Steak, Spatchcock chicken and Burgers are all present and very well priced from €12. There are some more quirky dishes sprinkled throughout which caught our eye most notably the Duck Wings with Sambucca Glaze.
We passed on the on the wings given our many dubious memories of the Italian liqueur and instead opted for the safer option of a more classic starter of a perfectly cooked Camembert Tart (€9), which lay on a generous bed of lush onion and fig relish, beetroot foam and was topped off with a lightly glazed fig and some peppery rocket.
On the other side of the table sat a cheese feast margarita for our mini reviewer and a more interesting dish of Tiger Prawns Mozambique (€9) which were pan fried in an African spiced Portuguese sauce that had a spirited kick to it which was nicely offset by the cooling mango gel and lemon flavoured sour dough sticks.
For mains we opted for one of the day’s specials Monkfish (€22) wrapped in Parma ham, although cooked well it may have benefitted from a lighter hand with the sauce, that said the roasted root veg side that was included was spot on.
Our second main; aptly named Pig on a Plate (€14) consisted of an utterly delicious potted ham hock pie topped with a fine puffy pastry, two generous rustic looking cuts of pressed pork belly which would please any fan of a good crackling, a back pudding fritter and a homemade chilli and garlic sausage. So when these guys say pig on a plate they ain’t kidding !
Given the amount of food we wolfed through with our two courses we decided to skip dessert much to the disgust of our little companion. Service was very welcoming and pleasant throughout however it was exceptionally slow on the day we visited, which in fairness to Inside Out they did acknowledge at the end of our dinner and apologise for, explaining they were unexpectedly down a chef that day.
C’est la Vie as they say, this is the reality of restaurant life, sometimes what’s important is how you manage it, thankfully for us the food was the most memorable thing and we would definitely visit inside out again on our next visit to Slane, even just to sample the dessert.
This is a welcome addition to the village and it is easy to see why they won “Best Newcomer in Meath” at the recent RAI awards, we wish them every success as Inside Out is well worth making a little detour for.
Dinner for three including two glasses of ample bodied Valdelmillo Crianza Rioja and a bottle of Sparkling came to €80.50
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Keith & Jules Mahon are the founders of TheTaste. We want TheTaste to be a culinary kaleidoscope to champion every taste, food, wine, cocktails, whiskey, etc. We are delighted to be part of such a creative and fast moving industry and are very passionate about sharing with you our unique journey around Ireland finding the best culinary hotspots.