Georgina Campbell's Ireland

Reviewed by Georgina Campbell

The brainchild of two Shannon Hotel Management graduates, Ted Robinson and Daniel McLoughlin, the emphasis at Shoda Market Café is on good quality wholesome food, artisan coffee and a unique wine offering.
Seats 120. Open Mon-Sun, 8am-6pm, also D Fri & Sat. Shop. Private parties; outside catering. MasterCard, Visa.

Situated beside the main entrance to Glenroyal Hotel but independently operated, Shoda Market Café was opened in 2016 by two Shannon Hotel Management graduates, Ted Robinson and Daniel McLoughlin, and is proving a great addition to Maynooth hospitality.

An attractive exterior in soft greens draws customers in to an atmospheric cafe with natural light provided by full height windows along one wall that, conveniently, overlook a laneway leading to the railway station. The decor is warmly rustic with few rural artefacts, including an old milk churn, dotted around. Bare brickwork arches house promising racks of wine and there are lovely big pendant lamps hanging down from the ceiling to light the tempting food displays and chunky wooden tables. It all gives out welcoming signals - as do the aromas of just-brewed coffee (roasted and blended exclusively for Shoda) and freshly baked breads...

The menu is not extensive: there is something for everyone - and special dietary requirements are willingly met - but the message is simple and wholesome.

Tasty light meals such as baked potatoes or quiche come with three salads of your choice; hot daytime main dishes may include Spanish lamb and chorizo casserole served with couscous or perhaps a beef goulash. There are daily specials too, though - typically roast loin of bacon with sausage stuffing, and perhaps chicken jalfrezi. On Friday and Saturday evenings they also open for dinner, which allows Chef Dmitrijs Nikitins and the team to flex their culinary muscles a bit more, offering a short menu of mainly Mediterranean influenced dishes that are very fairly priced.

But, although (as proclaimed on their outside wall) 'it's all about the taste' at Shoda, that doesn't necessarily mean food: it's just as much about the drinks. Not only do they have a bespoke range of coffees, for example - including the usual espresso and Americano, of course, alongside speciality options and guest coffees - and a menu of traditional and herbal teas, but they even have their own exclusive wine range, La Madura, which is supplied by a small family vineyard in the Saint-Chenin region and imported directly by Shoda for their house wines.

Food, coffee, wine and service all bear the hallmarks of a team determined to do something special in a simple way - and Shoda is clearly living well up to the expectations of the many happy customers who regularly beat a path to the door.

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