Sunday service at The Maldron

Is Sunday lunch a thing of the past? It has certainly changed, but it is still a good excuse for friends and family to get together to enjoy a meal and catch up on everyone’s news. It is far more informal than in the past and it doesn’t even need to be strictly at lunchtime — people have much busier lives so it depends on what works best for your family. These days, a Sunday lunch at home is just as likely to be a one-pot dish prepared in advance, a stir-fry, or pulled pork rather than a proper roast. In the summer it can be a barbecue or an al fresco picnic, perhaps with ice-cream and fruit; in the colder months, slow-roast lamb with seasonal vegetables and a hot pudding are the order of the day.

Always a popular way to get the whole family out and sitting around a table to relax, Sunday lunch has moved into a whole new phase. Forget about the carvery lunch of old, what we are seeing more of now is an outing where the venue is chosen so that family members of all ages can get together and enjoy a meal, often at a more reasonable price than is usual at dinner, without the hassle of shopping, cooking and, most importantly of all, washing up. In England there is a long held tradition of the country pub Sunday lunch, while here in Ireland, the tradition has largely become the preserve of the large hotels and country houses.

The Maldron Hotel is the latest to join the ranks of hotels offering a well priced Sunday lunch menu. This imposing three storey redbrick building, set back from the busy road that feeds into the city on the Carrowmoneash roundabout, is only a short distance from the pretty village of Oranmore with its variety of bars, restaurants, and shops. It enjoys all the peace and quiet of the countryside and is still just a 10km drive from the hustle and bustle of Galway. It is a busy spot whose rustic bar offers bistro fare and live music on weekends while other amenities include an indoor pool and gym, spa treatments, and a cosy guest lounge with a fireplace. Its popularity extends right across the corporate, leisure, bus tour, and family markets. The reliable WiFi, ample free parking, and good value has made it a obvious choice for those working and living locally.

At The Maldron Hotel you will find a friendly welcome from the front desk onwards. After some refurbishment, the hotel has been transformed into a contemporary space. A buffet breakfast is available, along with lunch and dinner menus, plus snacks on offer throughout the day. The Sunday lunch menu is served in the open-plan Grain & Grill Restaurant with a small choice of cold drinks and wine and the usual hot beverage options. The room is open and bright with chairs in muted pastel colours, conducive to a relaxed meal. It is popular with families and there are usually a few couples with young children in tow. Friendly and smartly dressed staff preside over the spacious room and we were quickly seated in the comfortable banquette seating.

The compact menu features a small choice of starters such as soup and Caesar salad. The main events are a choice of traditional roasting joints, all given a lot of love in the kitchen, the lamb leg slow-roasted into submission, the turkey and ham enriched with stuffing, and all including roast potatoes and plenty of the all-important gravy. A choice of mash and a variety of vegetables or chips and salad are offered. We enjoyed an enormous portion of well cooked roast beef and baked salmon drizzled with a white wine cream sauce. The children's menu is varied, half portions of the day's roast are offered along with a few other favourites and the sizes are perfect. Children's meals are €5.95 or €7.95 including dessert. The list of desserts is short and sweet, profiteroles, apple pie, sticky toffee pudding, and chocolate fondant served with vanilla ice cream and freshly whipped cream on elaborately decorated plates.

There was care shown to every dish sent out from the kitchen, all nicely presented by a competent and efficient staff — it offers a welcome break from the normal Sunday routine. Traditional, good food in a relaxed atmosphere, The Maldron can take the hassle out of Sunday dinner and is some of the best value you will find.

Maldron Hotel Galway, Oranmore, Co Galway, phone (091 ) 792 244, [email protected].

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