Last time I was in Slane Castle was long ago that I don't even remember what concert I was at! So you can imagine how much I was looking forward to get back there last night and try their Gandon Room restaurant.
Let me start with the positives, many of them and conclude with the one negative item which is unfortunately so important.
The nice experience started with the booking: the lady on the other side of the restaurant was super nice and very clear in admitting to have availability but the restaurant was going to be very busy due to two large groups booked more or less at the same time, knowing that my wife and I were celebrating a special occasion (what restaurant does that? First gold star...). She also ensured to leave a msg to the restaurant manager so that if we really found the restaurant being too busy, then we could move out in the outdoor space of the Browne's Bar (which you cannot book in advance), a lovely setting considering the glorious weather of these days but where you can order only from the pub menu.
We arrived and we were greeted by the mgr who shown us our table and refused our request to move to a slightly quieter table...well, fair enough but he also didn't acknowledge at all the agreement that we had with the reservation team i.e. he didn't ask if were ok or if we want to move outside. Anyway, we wanted to try the restaurant menu so we stayed there: both the Gandon Room and the Browne's Bar are small but absolutely lovely and the whole setting is close to unique: approaching the castle, parking on the lawn, walking back towards the courtyard, the lovely outdoor seating, the entrance...everything couldn't be more charming! Serving was good and the food, even though with a limited menu available, was absolutely delicious: I had Seafood Chowder & Shepherd's Pie (I know, the least Summery items on the menu!) and my wife Crab Salad & Fillet of Hake...all absolutely delicious, very generous portions (in particular mine!), absolutely well presented & organized on the plate. We were offered a sorbet in between starter & main and we concluded with a shared sort of Chocolate Mousse to die for. Prices are steep, in particular for the drinks, Dublin city centre like if not more...I have to admit though in response to other reviews that I've read about this place, considering the setting, quality & presentation of the dishes etc might be justified.
Now the manager...in this almost idyllic picture he was really out of place: I said about the fact that he didn't propose to us any alternative seating as agreed with the reservation team, he then came to us a couple of times asking how we were doing almost leaving even before we could properly answer (and probably get a praise for the good food). He didn't even apologize for the very loud noise caused in particular by one of the larger group while a lovely waitress actually did that! I couldn't complain about it because I knew that since I made the reservation but still, it was his job to ask if the noise was ok for us. Everything was wrong with his posture and attitude...
Time for the bill, I pass my credit card to him with it and he says to go to the reception to pay...strange but fair enough, we get up and expect him to bring us wherever we had to go but nope, already gone...at the front of the house we meet a waitress who was going to manage our payment and I ask if I could use my Amex...she asks the mgr for confirmation who was talking to other guests two meters away, he shakes his head to the waitress without again, acknowledging our request considering we were looking at him waiting for his response...we're now getting into being rude to be honest. We pay, we leave our tip (well deserved for the down to hearth but effective service) and we leave smiling and say our good-byes to the waitress who processed our payment and to the mgr as well being so close by and...even if I can understand he was talking to other guests he didn't even take two seconds to reply to our farewell.
Well, as I always says, I usually go back to restaurants where I had so so food but a great welcoming experience then places where the food was excellent but we were not treated that well.
I have no idea about the customer policy of the Gandon Room, maybe they can live for ever happily with their big groups, tourists and whoever else without other clients who like to dine out in nice places every so often and that they're ready to drive for a bit to get there...but if they're trying to attract the latter then for your their sake, pls change the restaurant mgr.
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.