County Laois - Roundwood House

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Perhaps the best course of the five-course dinner served by Paddy and Hannah Flynn at Roundwood House is the sixth course.

That’s when chef Paddy gets out his guitar and returns to the dining room, with sous chef Ted Pegg, to serenade the guests with a few soulful ballads. It’s spontaneous, filled with life, and utterly charming, the perfect end to the perfect dinner.

Happily, Paddy cooks just as well as he sings and plays guitar, with gutsy abandon and a smidgen of gusto – delicate prawn and smoked salmon timbale with trout roe; excellent duck with whipped goats cheese; sweet lamb loin with confit potato and squash purée; a perfect cheese board of Cashel Blue, Milleens, and Mossfield with sesame crackers; just-right chocolate mousse with salted caramel ice cream.

As a country house, Roundwood is unpretentious and charming, and manages to have that away-from-it-all feeling, from the moment you turn down the drive and see the centuries-old trees surrounding the house. The fellow guests are always a sparky bunch, the hosts are as good as it gets.