Near the cathedral in the centre of Thurles, proprietor Michael O’Dwyer is the third generation to operate a business from this property, where his parents and his grandfather before them operated a public house since the 1960s.
Now a modern apartment block, the street level restaurant is set back from footpath and smartly finished with dark sage green wooden cladding.
Arriving guests are offered drinks at the attractive bar or shown directly to the table, as preferred – service is quick, professional and friendly, and the meal starts well, with iced water offered along with the menus, also a lovely mini loaf of bread served on a board with a knife to cut for yourself, accompanied by a choice of herb and plain butter.
It’s an attractive room - quite large, bright and modern, but not too minimalist and with warm background colours and extensive use of warm-hued wood creating a pleasant ambience (although some might find the music too loud); the bare wooden tables, good cutlery, glassware, good plain white china and linen napkins are unfussy and establish a quality tone from the outset.
Euro-Toques chef Brendan Sheridan offers several menus - tapas, early bird, à la carte – and at first sight they look quite traditional (even a little flowery in places, eg ‘sweet rose of Ogen melon’, ‘peeled tomato petals’); the range offered is well thought out to include plenty of timeless favourites like steaks, a fair choice of fish and some good vegetarian dishes – and the cooking style is in fact modern and fresh, with the food very nicely presented on oval and square white Churchill plates.
Dishes on the à la carte might include, from a choice of about eight attractively presented and tasty starters, fresh crab claws wrapped in filo (served on a bed of rocket with garlic and spring onion cream, around €8.95) and an unusual spring roll of toasted nuts, smoked chicken and chorizo (served with a Thai chilli sauce, c. €7.50).
From around nine main courses there should be a good vegetarian dish such as Roulade of Cashel blue cheese with roast red peppers (an excellent dish, and well presented, about €15.95).
All bases are covered - steaks, lamb, pork, chicken and duck – but fish is also an attractive option; there will almost certainly be salmon, also perhaps roast fillet of turbot - at about €22.95 it’s at the upper end of the price range, but comes fully garnished (with those ‘peeled tomato petals’, leeks, and a lime & ginger beurre blanc sauce, plus a side dish of mixed vegetables.
You might finish with familiar desserts like profiteroles with Baileys cream and chocolate sauce or chocolate terrine, and good coffee.
A small wine list is organized by grape variety followed by the name of the wine, with good wine notes.
The service is well-informed and efficient, and Mitchel House works hard at offering variety and value - it’s clearly a popular restaurant, and has a good buzz of happy punters enjoying good cooking in pleasant surroundings.