Stitch and Bear

A long-running Irish blog with reviews of the best restaurants in Dublin and throughout Ireland. Some wine and cocktails thrown in for good measure!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

[Review] The Brown Bear, Two Mile House, Co Kildare

Don't you just love when you find a treasure? Over the course of my years spent blogging, I've stayed in many locations and found many culinary treasures dotted around the countryside. The latest revelation has been the wonderfully named The Brown Bear, which is located in Two Mile House, just a little bit outside Naas.

It's a little weird from the outside, sitting in a newish building in a tiny village. The building has a bang of Celtic Tiger construction from the outside, but inside, it's wide open, with stairs winding upwards and elegant decor. The Brown Bear takes its name from an Eighteenth century coach house, and indeed a shaggy brown bear motif is gilded onto the door windows. Things are looking good. 

We are seated at a booth for four, giving us plenty of room to relax. As we've arrived early, the restaurant is largely empty to start, but as the clock passes 1 o'clock, diners start to arrive in happy groups. Following our orders, we start with the most glorious of bread baskets, accompanied by olive oil, vinegar and butter pats. My personal favourite was the yeasty roll-up, filled with olive tapenade, but each and every piece was perfectly crusty and perfectly baked. 
Delectable bread basket with butter pats

My starter featured soft and crumbling boudin noir (the French version of black pudding), along with coco beans and a single, mellow yellow egg yolk. Not being very familiar with the coco bean, a little bit of Googling reveals that it's a form of haricot bean. Either way, the beans, along with the buttery sauce and silken egg yolk are an absolute delight. A salad of grilled peaches, mozzarella and Iberico ham is simple in construct but deceptive in flavour. The sweet hit of the soft peach flesh gives way to creamy cheese and salty ham. 
Boudin noir, coca beans and egg yolk
Grilled peaches, mozzarella and Iberico ham
Given that this was Sunday lunch, it's important that main courses feature enough meat. His course of lamb shoulder was beautifully cooked, and served with an elegant, fresh scattering of peas, broad beans and fennel. A piece of home smoked pork is superb, with a caramelised outside that sticks to the fork. Pumpkin, turnip and sprouting broccoli round off the plate. Baby buttered new potatoes are served as standard with the main courses, but we add a portion of oozy, cheesy cauliflower gratin. It's all hearty fare, but with a elegant, deft touch. 
Lamb with peas and broad beans
Home smoked pork loin with pumpkin and broccoli
Sides of baby new potatoes and cauliflower gratin
The Sunday lunch menu offers two courses for €23 or three for €29. We decline dessert, even though we really want to, as there simply isn't anywhere to put it. Lunch has been a wonderful mix of light dishes, combined with heartier meaty dishes, guaranteed to please everyone. If you're passing by Naas, it's worth making a detour. Myself, I'm planning to return for an overnight stay nearby and a return visit for an evening meal.

The Brown Bear, Two Mile House, Naas, Co Kildare
Tel: +353 (0)45 883 561
Twitter: @BrownBearRest

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