Many Rooms at the Mabel Crawford Bistro

Mabel Crawford Bistro
Crayfish salad

Strawberry and Raspberry Meringue Roulade


It was busy busy as we pulled into the Fitzgerald’s Vienna Woods Hotel last Saturday night for dinner at the Mabel Crawford Bistro. Cars all over the place; the main car park was full, the overflow was full and we just about found a space in the overflow to the overflow.

With such a crowd about, I was wondering what would it be like inside. No problem whatsoever. They had a wedding, a funeral and a christening but that made no impact on the restaurant as service was friendly, efficient and not lacking in any way at all.

Have you ever been to Mabel’s? It is pretty unusual in that it is a series of linked rooms, rooms of different sizes and decor. So whether you are two or twenty, they’ll find a room for you. This part of the building is over 200 years old and was the Crawford family kitchen back then, no doubt cooking up lots of local produce.

And that local element is as strong as ever under the Fitzgeralds and head chef Declan Mason. O’Connell Meats supply the beef. The fish is delivered fresh daily by Good Fish. Fruit and Vegetables are sourced locally and delivered fresh every morning from Waterfall Farm. They bake some of the breads themselves and the rest is supplied by Twomey’s Bakery. Hadn’t hear about this before but they do have a Guaranteed Irish Menu, four courses for twenty five euro.

There is a huge choice here and after much deliberation we tucked into our chosen starters. I went for the Salad of Steamed Crayfish, tossed with sautéed baby new potatoes, pineapple, red peppers and coated with a sweet chilli and coriander dressing.

It was a terrific combination of flavours and textures as was that chosen by CL: Chilled Duo of Galia & Cantaloupe Melon served with a Melody of Seasonal Fruits, and a Shot glass of tangy Red Berry Coulis. Colourful and tasty.

On then to the mains and more success. The regular menus are supplemented on a daily basis by a long list of specials. Always worth studying the specials and CL was very happy with her choice: The Grilled Fillet of Lemon Sole, served with prawn, tomatoes and parsley butter.

I spotted Tuna Steak on the regular menu and said I’d go for it even though I was a little worried it might be on the dry side. But not a bit of it. It was moist and absolutely gorgeous. The full description: The Seared Fresh Tuna Steak (Cooked to your liking), and served with Roasted Vine Cherry Tomato, Prawn & Caper Herb Butter (a lovely sauce).

So there you have it, both of us happy out as we say. And soon we were out in the cold and heading home but no sign of other bigger parties heading for their particular hills.