Lunch at the Athlone Radisson
The Radisson SAS Hotel in Athlone has one of the most prime pieces of real estate on the River Shannon. If you’re visiting Ireland by boat chances are you’ll be docking down at the marina underneath their large wooden deck.
But that’s not what this post is about, this post is about the lunch they offer in their Quayside bar. Now, look at that picture: you cannot beat the Quayside bar’s view over the river (except possibly south of the bridge at the River S). Just walking into the Quayside bar is nice to do. Comfy cushioned chairs and sturdy low-slung wooden tables threaten to imprison one in luxury. That aside, the Radisson in Athlone does what it does best all over the world – produce a high quality product in a consistent manner. There is a menu to select from, but most folks go for the buffet (12-2:30pm weekdays, €18 meal + dessert, €10 for pasta or salad plate and € 4.50 for soup or dessert only). Their buffet is excellent and has a large selection of lovely dishes. Wifey and I opted for the menu, as we were tempted by a couple of items we saw.
The serving staff in the Quayside is fantastic . . . and not a one of them Irish (that we saw). Whether from importing previously trained staff from eastern european Radissons or offering a pay scale that appeals only to eastern european ex-pats in Ireland, the staff is mostly eastern european. That said, they are the friendliest, most prompt staff you could want, so who’s complaining? The lady who served us made great friends with the munchkin and even provided a free serving of rolls for small fingers and mouth; very much appreciated by the smallest member of our group.
Wifey ordered the greek salad (€8.50) and I had the Swedish prawn open face sandwich(€8.50) and onion rings(€3) . The salad and sandwich were works of art. Seriously, you’d be hard pressed to find a more beautiful lunch plate, just look below there. The plates were delicious as well, wifey raved over her salad – I found the prawn cocktail sauce a bit vinegar-y and the excess slathering of butter on my sandwich a bit off-putting, but the prawns were big and juicy, so I focused on them. The onion rings, I’m sorry to say, looked great but were served only warm, not hot, and someone seems to have forgotten to put salt into the batter – I wouldn’t have called them savoury; cool to the touch and mostly tasteless is what they were.
Wifey had hot chocolate(€1.80), which was average (wifey knows her hot chocolates) and I had tea (€1.80), which I’m always thrilled to order in Ireland as I never have to explain that I’d like JUST PLAIN BLACK tea, not dandelion leaves flavoured with strawberry or some other non-tea infusion drink one is likely to get when ordering tea in California.
ANYway, what a lovely place to have lunch, if a bit higher on the price scale from most other centrally located lunches. I think the Radisson would argue quality and variety justify the difference, and they’re probably right. If you want a break from your average Irish pub lunch in Athlone, you’ve got some jingle in your pockets and you’d like a nice view while eating, the Quayside is the place for you.