Just Ask Resturant of the Month for May - Lennons @ Visual

The “Just Ask!” Restaurant of the Month winner for May is Lennons @ Visual in Carlow Town, Co Carlow

Ross Byrne and Gail Johnson - Lennons at Visual - CarlowFans of the former Lennons Café Bar of Tullow Street in Carlow Town had to wait a long time to enjoy their wholesome food again – but it’s been worth it. Last winter Sinead Byrne and her son Ross, together with some of the old staff, moved into the spanking new Visual Centre for Contemporary Art & the George Bernard Shaw Theatre in the heart of Carlow Town - and both the restaurant itself and the venue that provides its stylish contemporary setting are proving a great asset to the town.

The setting is magnificent, with views of Carlow Cathedral and paintings by local artists dominating the bright and airy room, where an intriguing system of glass-covered dark wall cladding - called, appropriately enough, the Blackglass - is used in much the same way as a conventional blackboard, for displaying specials and conveying any daily changing information to customers.

Lennons @ VIsual - Carlow TownHere also, we learn that all the meat and poultry used at Lennons@Visual is Irish, and a list of current suppliers is given, drawing on both the rich variety of artisan food production in the immediate area and respected names from around the South-East region, plus just a few beyond that.

Meats make the very short journey from Brennan’s Butchers of Dublin Street, a member of the Associated Craft Butchers of Ireland; Carlow Free Range Chicken, of Fenagh, supply quality chicken; delicious Lavistown Sausages come from Kilkenny; fish and seafood is supplied by both Goatsbridge Trout at Thomastown and Mylers Fresh Fish in Wexford, and Cullens of Gorey supply the fruit and veg.

You’ll also find some of the best local cheeses – Coolattin Cheddar from down the road at Shillelagh in West Wicklow, Knockdrinna from Stoneyford, Co Kilkenny, and Cashel Blue, from Tipperary, for example – and a ‘chorus’ of background products includes Kells Wholemeal flour from Bennetsbridge, Mileeven Honey from Kilkenny, G’s Gourmet Jams from Abbeyleix.

And then there are products from the Carlow Brewing Company at Bagenalstown, not only to wash it all down, but used in the cooking too - in a beef, vegetable & O’Hara’s stout casserole with champ, for example.

Lennons @ Visual - Carlow Town County Carlow IrelandIt makes good reading and, while the details may change, head chef Gail Johnson’s policy is to continue the long established Lennons philosophy of using the best local and regional artisan produce – and her appealingly simple food, cooked to order, allows it to speak for itself.

Menus offered include pre-theatre supper and dinner menus, also post show plates and tapas, but many people will come here independently of other activities in the centre to enjoy one of their ‘morning treats’ from the bakery, or for lunch.

Lunch menus offer a wide range of the wholesome, informal dishes that Lennons built their reputation on, with tasty salads a particular strength and a good choice of open sandwiches wraps and ciabattas along with specials – which could include an exceptionally tasty chicken and ham vol-au-vent.

Simple things tell you a lot about what’s going on in a kitchen; here, soups change with the season and, once courgettes start coming in, the soup of the day might be a well flavoured courgette, bacon & Cashel blue cheese soup - and not only is it served with freshly baked bread, but gluten free bread is offered as an option.

And should you like to finish on a sweet note, how nice to find the stylish Boozeberries liqueur, a speciality of nearby Tullow, feature with your NY style baked lemon cheesecake.

Inspired by the great ingredients on the doorstep, the careful cooking, good value and informed service at Lennons@Visual all add up to a great new restaurant – in a wonderful venue. Lucky Carlow.





Brennans Butchers, Carlow
Cullens Fruit & Veggies, Gorey
Mylers Fresh Fish, Wexford
Carlow Free Range Chickens, Fenagh
Goatsbridge Trout, Thomastown
Coolattin Cheddar, Tullow
Cashel Blue Cheese, Tipperary
Knockdrinna Farmhouse, Stoneyford
Lavistown Sausages, Kilkenny
Gubbeen Farmhouse, Schull
Kells Wholemeal, Bennettsbridge
Carlow Brewing Co., Bagnelstown
Mileeven Honey, Kilkenny
G's Gourmet Jams, Abbeyleix

Daily Specials - Sample

Served from 12.00 – 15.00 Price

Courgette, bacon & Cashel blue cheese soup with homemade brown bread €5.00
Myler’s Cod & smoked haddock pie with spinach & egg and a potato topping with mixed leaves €12.50
Beef, vegetable & O’Hara’s stout casserole with champ €11.50
Roast chicken fillet stuffed with rosemary & Irish regato cheese with roast Mediterranean vegetables & sautéed potatoes €12.00
Spinach & feta filo tart with mixed leaves & tomato relish €11.50
Moroccan chickpea tagine with fresh herb couscous €11.50
Fusilli pasta with a creamy mushroom & white wine sauce €11.00
Optional chargrilled chicken €12.50

Early Supper

Served from 18.00 to 19.00
2 courses €22.00
3 courses €26.00


Seasonal soup with homemade brown bread

Brennan’s smoked bacon & Coolattin cheddar rarebit with rocket & David Llewellyns cider balsamic

McCormack farm salad leaves with Knockrinna goats cheese Mileeven honey & toasted hazelnuts


Mylers fresh fish in O’Haras beer batter, tartare sauce, mushy peas & homemade wedges

Aubergine & courgette moussaka with mixed leaves and Irish regato  & garlic toast

Chicken, ham & leek puff pastry pie in a course grain mustard sauce with creamy champ


Today’s fruit crumble with fresh cream or custard
NY style baked lemon cheesecake with boozeberries
Warm chocolate brownie with chocolate sauce & vanilla ice cream


House pickled shallots with chilli & mixed spices €3.00
Bowl of marinated olives €3.00
Black olive tapenade & basil pesto dips with crusty bread €5.00

Seasonal soup with homemade brown bread €6.00

Coolattin cheddar & Brennan’s smoked bacon rarebit with rocket & David Llewellyns cider balsamic €8.00

Pan-fried free range Carlow chicken livers on toast with fresh herbs & wild mushrooms €8.00

Asian style prawn & haddock spring rolls with fresh ginger & chilli dip €8.50

McCormack farm salad leaves with Knockrinna goats cheese Mileeven honey & toasted hazelnuts €8.50

Todays fresh fish – See Blackboard

Mylers fresh fish in O’Haras beer batter, tartare sauce, mushy peas & homemade wedges €17.50

Aubergine & courgette moussaka with mixed leaves and Irish regato & garlic toast €16.50

Brennan’s double lamb chop with cheesy potato bake, greens & red wine gravy €19.50

Chicken, ham & leek puff pastry pie in a course grain mustard sauce with creamy champ €17.00

Brennan’s10oz Striploin steak €26.50
Brennan’s 8oz Fillet steak €26.50
With baked Portobello mushroom & onions, homemade wedges & black peppercorn or garlic butter

Sides €4.00
Potato Wedges Cheesy potato bake Mixed leaf salad Seasonal Veggies



Just Ask!” is a public awareness campaign that aims to encourage consumers when eating out to look for information on where the food (particularly meat) on their plate comes from, and encourages chefs to provide this information on their menus. The programme supports both large and smaller artisan suppliers, encouraging both Irish diners and visitors from abroad to support restaurants that are in turn supporting their suppliers.

Here at Georgina Campbell Guides we have always been avid supporters of the ‘eat local’ concept, and we always enjoy reading menus that have a real sense of place. The dining experience is greatly enriched by knowing that the food on your plate is inspired by the produce and traditions of the area, and sourced nearby – and we would love to see more chefs sharing that precious information with their guests. 

If you are a visitor to the area, learning a little about local food and the people who produce it adds a special extra dimension to the visit – and, for residents, it reinforces a natural pride in the good things of their locality and makes a meal all the more enjoyable.

So, we are delighted by the high standard of menus that continue to be submitted for our ' “Just Ask!” Restaurant of the Month Competition', menus that really speak of the best of Irish foods – and the dedication of both the people who make them, and the chefs who select them to create wonderful dishes with real Irish flavour for our enjoyment.

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