Takeaway Tapas from The Step House Hotel

Take tapas, for instance – pre covid, you were guaranteed a wonderful night out chatting, drinking wine and enjoying Spanish tapas, Irish style.  Local ingredients were very much to the fore and, across the country, Irish tapas bars were offering a delightful twist on these Spanish bites.  As the pandemic took hold, many establishments worked quickly to provide a takeaway option.  In Carlow, besides the tapas bars offering delicious takeout tapas, the Step House hotel in Borris also added the option of tapas to their takeout repertoire of Sunday lunches, sweet treats and snack boxes.  

Recently I decided to try their tapas, snack box offering and some sweet treats.  What I love about this sort of food is that it lends itself to eating outdoors.  The evenings are long so it’s not difficult to bring some cutlery, collect your takeaway, perhaps a bottle of wine and enjoy your food in a nearby park or forest (yes, you may need a coat, hat and umbrella, but take a chance!)

I collected my takeaway and we decided to eat on the patio here at Hunters Lodge.  We just added cutlery and were ready to tuck in. 

The tapas box is for two people and includes a smoked salmon roulade, duck arancini, ham croquettes, Asian beef stir fry and of course some patatas bravas. 

The salmon roulade is served with pickled red onion, avocado and dried tomato and portion size is really good.  The duck arancini, with a spiced apricot puree, hazelnut, orange and chicory, is incredibly delicious and all the flavours worked really well together (the hazelnut worked like a dream). 

The ham croquettes are also packed with flavour and give you that lovely comfort food feeling. 

The oriental addition to the menu went down a treat with the ginger and coriander giving the beef a wonderfully zingy flavour.  I particularly loved the rice that comes with the beef and it really evoked memories of my trips to Asia where the sticky rice is to die for. 

The good old patatas bravas were what you might expect, although they didn’t travel as well as the other dishes – but that did not stop us from devouring them with the accompanying chilli aioli. 

And onto the snack box which includes smoked salmon pate, red pepper hummus, white bean salad, couscous, radish cucumber, sesame and red grapefruit salad and focaccia.  I must admit I was really looking forward to the pâté, but unfortunately it was nowhere to be seen.  In its place was cream cheese filled smoked salmon – lovely in its own right, but not smoked salmon pâté. The hummus, salads and cous cous were perfectly fresh, summery and light.  However, the focaccia didn’t make it to the snack box either, but the bread that replaced it was quite lovely. 

You can’t not order something sweet when there are two delicious sweet treats on offer – in this instance, lemon posset and carrot cake, so I ordered one of each.  Outstanding on both accounts. These are two of my favourite sweet treats and they really didn’t disappoint.  This is takeaway dessert with 5 star hotel impact.  Top marks from us!

There were three of us eating and there were leftovers so portion size is good.  The cost of the tapas box is €30 for two people.  The snack box is €20 and the desserts are €5.50 each.  So for €61 we had a lovely weekend takeaway for three people, sitting on the patio and not a dish to wash. Now that’s good value any day of the week and what’s even better for me is knowing that all the containers are recyclable.  So if you fancy a weekend picnic in Carlow, tapas might just be the perfect option. 

WRITTEN BY FIONA DILLON

IG: @FionaDillon1

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