Tuesday, June 20, 2023

You're on course for a great time when you stay at Lawlor's of Naas

You're on course for a great time when you stay at Lawlor's of Naas 

Terrific Sea Bass dish in Vi's

Hard to know where to start when talking about the amazingly popular Lawlor’s Hotel in the heart of Naas. Hard, because a recent refurbishment has more than doubled its size to over three acres! They have 138 individually designed bedrooms, ranging from traditional style to brand-new superior bedrooms. All rooms are en-suite and are fitted with power showers, some with modern jacuzzi baths - providing ultimate luxury. 

Yet, when we knew we were heading there, our focus was immediately on Vi’s, the newly launched restaurant. Quite a spectacular place highlighted by the custom-made iconic round dining bar, an eye-catching centrepiece of the luxurious new lobby.

The bar in the round in Vi's

The frontage of the “old” hotel faces the town's main thoroughfare, while the new reception is on the other side of the complex, reached via Gleann na Greine (don't worry, very easy to find). Here you will find a spacious underground car park with a lift up to reception.

It took us a while to finish the walk as we took in the lobby and the restaurant and the magnificent decor. And then we got a warm welcome from the staff at the desk and took the lift to the 4th floor and our spacious comfortable room with all we needed for our stay. From the window, we could see down to the gardens. 

Terrine starter

It was one of the warmest days of recent weeks and the temptation factor was high. Soon, we were relaxing in the garden with a cool drink at hand. Vi's Gardens, with its ancient gates, is now open daily for dining and drinks and you may have lunch in the lobby from 12.00 pm until 4.00 pm. The Bistro is open every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner.


After the liquid refreshment had reached the vital spot, we decided to take a stroll along the main streets of this well-kept town. Busy too and no sign of any vacant sites that blight the centre of some of our cities and towns. Didn’t go too far though as the heat was still up and we had already walked quite a bit during our superb visit to the nearby Irish National Stud.


By the way, on the way up and down to our room, we regularly passed the Courtroom. Yes, the Courtroom. It is laid out in a traditional semi-circular fashion. But the seating here is very comfortable and the facilities (AV technology and video conferencing) are bang up-to-date and excellent for corporate and training events. This restored 19th Century wood-panelled amphitheatre meeting room holds up to 50 attendees,

Soon it was time for dinner - we had a reservation - and we headed for Vi’s. Again, the welcome was warm and friendly and that vibe continued right through a very efficient service all through the meal. Vi’s is currently open Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 6 pm to 9 pm, and Sunday from 1 pm to 8 pm. Expect to pay a bit more here than in the Bistro. 

It also has some different dishes available, as you'd expect, including Steak on a Stone - 6oz medallion of prime Irish beef fillet on the stone with portobello mushroom, caramelised red onion, overnight tomatoes, pepper sauce, chunky chip. And then there’s the exclusive Mrs Lawlor’s Sherry Trifle (left) - a classic boozy sherry trifle made using Mrs Lawlor's own recipe.

You can also break the bank on the Drinks List which is very extensive. A lot of reading there and it might be worth your while to try and get your hands on it in advance! We settled on an excellent New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and a dram of Green Spot.

One of the unusual doors, each with a story

The menu takes a fair bit of attention also. Eight starters include Sharing Platter of deep-fried calamari, chorizo, and Padron peppers. My pick was the Jane Russell Blackpudding and Ham Hock Terrine which came with black apple chutney, lamb leaf, and French dressing.

That got me off to a flier and CL, who had been tempted by the Ardsallagh Goats Cheese Tartlet,  was also delighted with her Pulled Roast Chicken Croquette with Pickled mushroom, lamb's leaf lettuce, and honey buttermilk dressing. Sat back between courses and listened to the live musician, had another look or two at the eye-catching decor above and around the bar, and enjoyed voyeuristically the craic coming from a nearby 40th birthday celebration.

Perfect steak

Time then for the main event, surf for her, turf for me! CL’s pick was the Pan-fried Sea Bass with warm potato salad, cherry tomatoes, peppers, braised fennel, and roasted red pepper reduction. Absolutely perfect, the fish hugely enhanced by the marvellous sauce. 

I ordered the 10 oz Irish Beef Striploin Steak with mushrooms, caramelised red onion, overnight tomato, pepper sauce, and chunky chips, My server suggested a port wine sauce and I went along with that. Ten out of ten here for sure, the meat was perfectly cooked and lifted by the overnight tomato and that port wine sauce.

One of the inviting gardens, seen from 4th floor window

They serve breakfast in the Bistro from 6.30 am. We were never in danger of getting there that early and it was after nine when we sat down in what is still quite a striking room. The service is again friendly and the whole operation is well organised and runs smoothly. Just take your time and check all your options.

There is a central station for juices and cereals while tea, coffee, and toast will be delivered to your table. Aside from one or two other options, everything else comes from the Hot Buffett which is regularly checked and replenished. 

Breakfast is served in this area of the Bistro
(part of the "old" hotel)

Our selections, mostly eggs, pudding, beans and mushrooms were top notch and indeed their sausages were superb, sorry I didn't take another one! But there you go. We were quite happy as we left the room to take a stroll on the tidy banks of the nearby Grand Canal and also a look at the Country Market which takes place every Friday (the Farmers Market is on Saturday).

With the sunshine coming to a temporary halt, it was time to check out (after another pleasant chat) and head down south with a promise to ourselves that we'd be back to Lawlors.

Here the "old" front of Lawlor's continues to face out on Poplar Square

Also on this trip:

More on the advantages of this hotel with an emphasis on its location, a great base for touring the Kildare area here.

And a post also on our delightful visit to the Irish National Stud here.


No comments: