You know you have had a good meal out when you wake up thinking about it! Well that's what happened to me this morning after a fantastic meal out at the La Dolce Vita event at Jack's Railway Bar & Restaurant in Kells. Jack's is run by the lovely Martin and Victoria, a young dynamic couple from Lithuania who took over the restaurant in January. Martin looks after the bar while Victoria expertly manages the front of house. In the kitchen is Aurora, originally from Italy, and having run her own restaurant in Navan for years knows what the customers are looking for when it comes to food.
Jack's isn't Italian all of the time and their normal menu has a good mix of options on it. They also do a good number of weekly specials so there is something new to look forward to each week. On this occasion though the menu was fully Italian. For starters we went for the bruschetta and the antipasto misto. The bruschetta was full of the summery flavours that you would expect and had just the right amount of garlic. I have had them before where the garlic would almost burn the mouth off you!
The antipasto misto was a collection of cured meats, cheese, vegetables and fruit. It's a simple dish but one that rests on the quality of its ingredients and they aren't skimped on here.
Next up was a surprise course of homemade foccacia - one with a potato topping and the other with a classic pizzaiola sauce.
We were torn on what to get for the main courses as they all sounded wonderful but in the end we went for pasta dishes which I think is always a good indicator of how good a place is. If they get the classics right they are well on their way. Himself went for the carbonara, done in proper Italian style with no cream. Yet it still tasted wonderfully creamy with large bits of bacon pieces generously scattered throughout.
I went for the Sicilian Meatballs which were amazing. They were meaty yet sweet with the addition of raisins which I have never come across before.
We were feeling fairly full by this stage but the food was so good it would have been rude not to have dessert. Any feelings of doubt were put to rest when Victoria told me the icecream was homemade! From the first bite of the pistachio icecream I was in icecream heaven. Himself barely got a spoonful!
Himself choose the tiramisu and while it was nice I think our personal tastes veer towards a tiramisu that is slightly less sweet and has a bigger coffee kick. Everything was washed down with a lovely glass of Montepulciano and a Pinot Grigio in a setting that was cosy and somehow romantic even though we were accompanied by the 8 week old!
Jack's Railway Restaurant is a great addition to the Kells dining scene and I am delighted that I got to experience such a lovely meal. All the produce is sourced locally as much as possible and you can taste it in the food. Martin and Victoria have great plans for the place with lots of events planned so I know I will be keeping a lookout for their next one though I know we will be back before then!
The La Dolce Vita event for the Boyne Valley Food Series runs over the bank holiday weekend. Saturday and Sunday are €30pp for a four course set menu and a limoncello. There will be live music and Italian cocktails at the bar so if you are looking for something to do this weekend get yourselves down there.
Disclaimer: I am an official blogger for the Boyne Valley Food Series 2015. I was invited to attend this event and did so for free. All reviews and opinions are my own.