This is the restaurant of choice at Glenlo Abbey - perhaps the country's most novel dinner venue, it was our Atmospheric Restaurant of the Year in 2005 and diners continue to find it enchanting: four carriages, two of them from the original Orient Express that featured in scenes from "Murder on the Orient Express", filmed in 1974.
Adapting it to restaurant use has been achieved brilliantly, with no expense spared in maintaining the special features of a luxurious train. There is a lounge/bar area leading to an open dining carriage and two private 'coupes' compartments, each seating up to six.
Background 'clackity-clack' and hooting noises lend an authenticity to the experience and the romance is sustained by discreetly piped music of the 1940s and 50s. The view from the windows is of a coiffeured golf course, Lough Corrib and Connemara hills in the distance. Welcome by smart staff is pleasant, service throughout exemplary.
Tables are set up as on a train, with silver cutlery, simple glassware and white linen (although napkins are paper); the food is suitably inclined to Asian influences and, while not cutting edge, it is very enjoyable.
In line with the fun of the theme, you could begin your meal with a Pullman Summer Salad - and even end it with Poirot's Pie (apple tart); more typically, try an excellent 'Assiette of Oriental Appetisers' including sushi, sashimi, prawn tempura, smoked salmon, and mini spring roll, soy sauce and wasabi - and follow with a main course of 'Beijing Kao Ya', deliciously crisp-skinned roast half duck with a home-made barbecue & pomegranate sauce. Short, well-chosen wine list.
Recommended as much for its unique, special occasion experience as for the fare - but the cooking is reliable and a visit is always enjoyable.