Michelin Star Dining in Campagne, Kilkenny

Campagne Main

On a little break in Kilkenny before Easter, we booked dinner for one of the evenings in Campagne. We had been once before to Campagne over a year ago which hadn’t been very successful, primarily our own fault in that we booked a later table and were both suffering with colds, we should have cancelled but we persevered on and as a result didn’t enjoy it. We were determined to re-visit though and I’m so glad we did as this was a totally different experience that we loved…

We booked an earlier table and were in the whole of our health this time so we started from a good place! The advantage with an early table (ours was 6.30pm) is the incredible value early bird menu. Campagne holds one michelin star (since 2013) so you know the food will be good and the early bird offers 2 courses for €27 or 3 for €32. This menu is available at lunch and Tues – Thurs 6-7pm or Fri – Sat 5.30-6pm. Outside of these times, its an a la carte menu.

Campagne, Kilkenny
Campagne, Kilkenny
Campagne, Kilkenny
Campagne, Kilkenny

The restaurant itself is located under railway bridge arches, it’s quite mews style and relatively innocuous from the street. Inside, oak wood, muted tones and materials, simple yet refined decor with striking artworks lining the walls. Food is French influenced, seasonal and local. Chef Garrett Byrne is in the kitchen and Brid Hannon runs front of house and it all just works well…

Gin & Tonics at Campagne
Gin & Tonics at Campagne

We started with Gin & Tonics, Tanqueray for him and Bombay for me, while we looked at the menu. We loved the wine list here, a really great selection, at different price points, including by the glass. We were in the mood for an Italian red, there’s a Valpolicella, alpha zeta, on the menu at €31. Brid recommended the Nero d’Avolo (€26) and offered us a taste of both to decide. In fact the Nero D’avolo was better so we went with that. I quite liked the bottle too (yep I’m a sucker for a label!).

Nero d'Avola at Campagne
Nero d’Avola at Campagne
Basket of Bread
Basket of Bread

The early bird menu offers 4 choices in starters and mains, he chose the Warm smoked haddock, organic leeks, deep fried egg and mustard hollandaise – a kind of modern take on ‘smokies’. I love celeriac so the Warm celeriac mousse, pickled pear, celeriac chutney, hazelnut dressing, parmesan crisp was perfect for me. Both starters were really excellent, the haddock, leeks and egg with hollandaise was moreish yet light, perfectly balanced and delicious (I tasted so I know how good it was!). My celeriac was equally good, the little toasted crunchy hazelnuts and pickled pear making the perfect foil for the soft warm mousse. It was gorgeous!

arm smoked haddock, organic leeks, deep fried egg and mustard hollandaise
Warm smoked haddock, organic leeks, deep fried egg and mustard hollandaise
Warm celeriac mousse, pickled pear, celeriac chutney, hazelnut dressing, parmesan crisp
Warm celeriac mousse, pickled pear, celeriac chutney, hazelnut dressing, parmesan crisp

Mains were beef, chicken, duck or cod. I decided on the Aylesbury duck breast and confit leg, choucroute, salt baked beetroot and cep sauce – I love duck and beetroot so this dish made me happy while he chose the Braised short rib of beef, turnip puree, cevennes onion and green peppercorn dressing. We added a side of vadouvan spiced carrots (€3.95), chips (€3.95) and mashed potato was served with the mains as well.

Aylesbury duck breast and confit leg, choucroute, salt baked beetroot and cep sauce
Aylesbury duck breast and confit leg, choucroute, salt baked beetroot and cep sauce
raised short rib of beef, turnip puree, cevennes onion and green peppercorn dressing
Braised short rib of beef, turnip puree, cevennes onion and green peppercorn dressing

The main courses didn’t quite live up to the standard set by the incredible starters but were very good nonetheless, particularly the duck. Perfectly pink, the ingredients all just worked together so well to make a delicious plate of food. And the beetroot was heavenly.

His beef was less successful, it was quite a ‘heavy’ dish, with the short rib itself with purees, dressing and sauces – it was too much and in hindsight would ask for the dressing part at least on the side. Not a reflection on the quality of the food though, more a personal preference on tastes. The carrots were the star – the best carrots I have ever tasted… so good and I’d go back just for them! Just look…

Vadouvan Spiced Carrots at Campagne
Vadouvan Spiced Carrots at Campagne
Mashed potato
Mashed potato at Campagne
Chips at Campagne
Chips at Campagne

Portion size is quite big and with the French style of cooking tends towards being quite heavy so I couldn’t fit any more food in but he had a little room after not eating much of the beef. There’s 3 desserts and 1 cheese available on this menu, he (of course) went with the cheese – a slice of Brie de Meaux, toasted walnut bread and fig chutney. A lovely way to end the meal.

Brie de Meaux, toasted walnut bread and fig chutney
Brie de Meaux, toasted walnut bread and fig chutney

My dessert was more of the liquid variety in the form of a New Zealand red, Trinity Hill 2012 Syrah, Hawkes Bay (€42). This was a beautiful wine and lived up to our thoughts on the wine list at Campagne being really excellent and a well thought through selection. We enjoyed our wine, chatting and taking in the lovely ambiance in the restaurant.

Trinity Hill Syrah at Campagne
Trinity Hill Syrah at Campagne

In the end they kindly took the beef off our bill, which we didn’t ask for and was unnecessary but very nice for them to do – this made our total bill, including the G&Ts and wine – €130.65 (not including service). I know – pretty good, and don’t forget this is a Michelin star restaurant.

Campagne Logo

I was really impressed with Campagne, the place, food, staff were all super. A great wine list and truly exceptional value early bird menu makes it somewhere we will certainly return to, soon I hope.

Campagne | 5 The Arches, Gashouse lane, Kilkenny City | 056 777 2858 | info@campagne.ie

www.campagne.ie | @campagnekilkenn

7 Comments

  1. frankstero says:

    That’s it, I’m definitely going to have to visit now!

    1. Definitely do it! Great wine list ????

  2. I was treated to lunch here for my birthday last year and I loved it! I was in the summer though so the menu was very light and fresh, everything was delicious. I might have to start dropping hints to go back for this year 🙂

  3. Ernest says:

    I’m the head chef of a Spanish restaurant in Kilkenny and I admit that the Campagna is my reference to make things right.

Comments are closed.