Have heard a lot, all good, about Shoda, a new restaurant/coffee shop opened at the side of Glenroyal hotel in Maynooth, and got to check it out for myself yesterday. And wasn't disappointed. The restaurant is spacious, bright, modern, both funky and fancy, with its own character and great ambience, and would suit for both sit-down meal or just a hot beverage and as a rake-away for a coffee and a treat. Food offering was very impressive, from scones to quiches to fish cakes to traditional soup-sandwiches to hot carvery. Since it was my first time there, I wasn't sure what to order and a staff member at the counter patiently explained what was what. I settled on a coronation chicken wrap, toasted, which was absolutely delicious. Chicken pieces in a mild curry sauce certainly beat the old and tired plain ham-and/cheese. The wrap came with three salads, and I struggled to choose from a variety of fresh and tasty looking dishes. In the end I settled for a red cabbage coleslaw, which was delicious, Mediterranean couscous, ditto, and kale salad, which although being undoubtedly healthy, didn't impress me. Perhaps if the leaves had been more finely shredded or cooked, it would have been nicer. As it is, it was hard to chew.
My husband and I are both fans of scones and I was delighted to see four types, all looking very tempting. My husband got a fruit one and I chose a brown one, with chocolate, best of both worlds. Scones came with free cream and jam, although I couldn't vouch that jam was home made. Both scones were perfect. Soft and crumbly, just right.
Service was excellent. The staff are very friendly and hard working. A female staff member, probably a supervisor, as she was wearing a different untiform, was very attentive. She brought tea over to our table, and asked us if everything was ok. On our way out, she interrupted her conversation with another staff member to enquire if we were happy with everything, and we honestly told her we were. Very much so.
A male staff member, Nathan, as I heard his colleague call him, was very helpful and efficient, all the time remaining smiling and friendly. I twice asked him for extra hot water, and he was happy to oblige, without any fuss or impatience. Service as it should be.
Maynooth being a university town is full of eateries, and after having tried most, if not all of them, I think Shoda already stands out. They set the bar at a new high, and if they continue how they started, they will certainly be and remain popular and successful.
One can also buy various gifts, edible and non, and funky and quirky bits and pieces there.
Shoda is perhaps not cheaper than its competition in Maynooth or Celbridge, but we all would probably prefer to pay a bit more if it is worth it. And in Shoda, it is.
We, for one, found a new place for tasty imaginative food in lovely and inviting atmosphere. After being fans of The Orchard for years, we just might take our custom to Shoda now.