Luxurious surroundings and great cuisine at the Radisson Blu, Athlone

Situated in a picturesque location on the banks of the River Shannon in Athlone, The Radisson Blu Hotel offers its visitors style and elegance in a relaxing environment. I was lucky enough to be invited to sample their menu at the hotel’s Elements Bistro this week.

The Elements Bistro restaurant in is the ideal spot to sit down and relax over a creative, regionally inspired meal. My host for the evening, the smiling and welcoming Ilona, greets me like the friend she never met, immediately putting me at ease as she leads me to my table.

The restaurant is an elegantly designed space with the four elemental themes of water, fire, earth, and air incorporated into its décor, making the Elements Bistro an aptly named dining establishment. Illuminated glass panels, wave-shaped room dividers, and aquamarine-upholstered dining chairs create a water theme, while the central island hearth creates the fire element.

Earth is mirrored through the well-lit bamboo screens and sand-coloured upholstered chairs, and the air element is manifested by creating a sense of spaciousness with white light, floor-to-ceiling windows, and an open-plan layout. To say the restaurant is spotless would be an understatement. Presentation is everything here at the Radisson Blu Hotel, which bodes well in terms of the cuisine I am about to sample.

Two different types of bread and a bottle of water are placed on the table as I wait. The menu presented is packed with a plethora of mouth-watering dishes, so much so it takes me a while to decide on just one. 

The choice includes: homemade ham hock and apple terrine with wild mushroom pickle, caramelised ginger and salad greens; goats cheese arancini: crumbed risotto cakes with sundried tomato and boilie goats cheese filling and basil pesto salad; Clonakilty black pudding oven roasted and served with Ballymaloe relish and salad greens; seasonal wild mushrooms risotto pan seared, with wild mushrooms in truffle oil and parmesan; and crisp monkfish balls with fresh lemon, rocket and garlic aioli.

I decide on the scampi and am not disappointed. The dish combines great flavours and tastes, all in harmony with one another. The monkfish balls really complement  the garlic aioli, both accentuating the other to perfection. This is the ideal starter in that  quantities are generous without being too filling, leaving you looking forward to the main course.

I find myself in a similar predicament when choosing my main. Everything on the menu looks so tasty -  among the mains on offer are: roasted sage chicken supreme with goats cheese arancini, roast asparagus and saffron creme; slow roasted pork belly with braised red cabbage and cauliflower puree; goats cheese and Mediterranean vegetable tian; and Tandoori roast lamb rump with braised legume, sundried tomato, and onion tartlet with roast pearl onion jus.

The confited duck leg spring roll with red cabbage, gratin potato and star anise jus is tempting, but I settle for the equally appealing Connemara lamb confit in filo pastry with blue swimmer crab and coriander risotto and garlic aioli, the chef’s recommendation. The lamb is incredibly tender and melts in the mouth, the stir-fried vegetables providing something different.

A trio of cheesecake is the perfect dessert to round off a very enjoyable evening. I am already making plans for a return in the near future.

The Radisson’s Elements restaurant is vegan and vegetarian friendly. There is also a great list of carefully selected wines to complement the food on offer. Customers can mix and match between the a la carte menu and the Table d’Hote menu, which offers a starter, main, dessert and tea or coffee at €25 per person.

The Radisson Blu Hotel is located on Northgate Street, Athlone, and is the ideal location for dinner with friends and family, for weddings, communions, christenings, birthdays, business meetings, or any other special event you might have in mind. For further information or to make a booking call (090 ) 6442600 or email [email protected].  

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