199 Kenmount Road St. John’s
St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador abounds with quality restaurants and pubs. These restaurants help sow the culinary fabric of our unique province. I am a huge fan of local restaurants in St. John’s. I always urge people to support them, they are what makes the Newfoundland and Labrador food scene interesting. Having said that, I do like when a corporate restaurant comes along that can blend into the food vibe of a community. We are known for our food, music and Celtic culture; it is evident in the numerous pubs that are scattered throughout the city. As of this week there is a new restaurant that celebrates Celtic culture, in their food and music , Fionn MacCool’s, 199 Kenmount Road.
I had the opportunity to visit Fionn MacCool’s during their soft opening last weekend (thanks Chef Matt McDonald for the invite).
Firstly, I really like the location, it shares the parking lot with the Fairfield Hotel (Marriott) so plenty of parking, which is always a plus for me. That section of town is coming alive, new hotels and restaurants are popping up which is great for the economy.
We were greeted by a group of hostesses who showed us to our seats. There was a positive energy in the room, I felt at home. The kilted servers moved throughout the room with efficiency, they had been training all week, working out any issues. I applaud a restaurant that takes the time to properly train their staff and work the kinks out during soft openings.
To start, we shared an appetizer of wings, 2 pounds to be exact. They were served to us in only moments, nice at hot. We all had different tastes and heat tolerances at our table so the server was accommodating enough to bring the sauces on the side. They were large and juicy wings, plenty for a starter for 4 persons. The beer choice for the evening was Barking Squirrel Amber, it was nice and crisp and had a nice finish that lasted awhile and worked with the wings.
For the main I ordered the Lamb Shank, when I go to a pub and lamb shank is on the menu I have to try it. It certainly did not disappoint, the lamb was tender, and it pulled away from the bone without effort. The au jus gave the meat a wonderful richness quality that accompanied the mashed potato nicely. Usually just a pretty addition to a plate I have to say I truly loved the veg, the slight char gave them a nice grilled flavour that matched the entire dish.
As this was a soft opening, we were all curious about everyone’s order, as a result, we all had a small sampling of some of the dishes on the table.
The winner by far was the Guinness Steak and Mushroom Pie, the crust was light and flakey, the meat was succulent and tender and the gravy was top notch. By the time I was going to take a picture of the pie it was already half gone!! As a result, no picture to show you but I assure you it is worth ordering.
Although I did not try the Fish Tacos they looked amazing, Ian thought they were delicious.
My wife is not a person who likes complex sauces (but do like mushroom cream sauce)and who I would call an authority on chicken, as she eats so much of it. Here is where it gets interesting and a true test for a new server at a soft opening. My wife is allergic to mono sodium glutamate or MSG. Once we advised the server of this she immediately told us she was uncertain but she would get someone who would know. In seconds a gentlemen assisted us in answering all my wife’s questions and she ordered the bacon wrapped chicken breast on rice and asparagus with a mushroom sauce. I am happy to report that she was happy with her meal choice and service she got from the restaurant team.
For dessert we all shared a raspberry shortbread cheesecake. I am not much for desserts, but it looked so good, I had a taste. It was refreshing, the raspberry coulis gave the dish a brightness. I was impressed that it was made in house, at times it is easy and more cost effective to buy premade desserts (which I do not particularly agree with), and in this case I was glad they did not.
While finishing dessert, savouring a final pint and enjoying the live music, (Connemara were fantastic as usual) we were visited by chef Matt McDonald. During our discussion of our dining experience he pointed out that most of the food is actually house made and not shipped in premade. This was welcomed news and the final stamp that this is a go to restaurant and worth writing about.
I have had the opportunity to visit at least two other Fionn MacCool’s across Canada , I had positive experiences in each, but it is just something about knowing we now have one on the rock.
- Friendly , well trained (well dressed)
- Fantastic attention to detail and customer service
- Convenient parking
- Close to new accommodations
- Live music
No low points during this visit
$$$ out of $$$$$
Reasonable price for a wonderful experience
Points for a pub/restaurant experience
4.5 out of 5
I wish them all the best in the future and we shall return!! Once again thanks for the invite.