Athlone is fast becoming a foodie’s destination. There are currently three restaurants listed in the Michelin Guide: Kin Khao Thai, Left Bank Bistro and Thyme Restaurant.

Kin Khao is located on the Left Bank in a colourful period building that looks like a converted farm inside. Gorgeous large canvas paintings of elegant women in traditional Thai dresses hang on the walls that create an almost temple-like atmosphere. I was sitting next to a gold relief Buddha image that induced a sense of calm.

I recommend the lunchtime deal, it’s very cost-effective for a starter and a main. The menu stated that the oxtail soup is a firm favourite so I chose it together with the Khao Soi Gai, a noodle coconut curry with chicken. The flavour and texture of the curry reminded me of the Coconut Laksa I had at Kai in Galway, another Michelin Guide restaurant. The main texture in the Khao Soi Gai was from the deep fried noodles as a topping, which gave the dish a nice crunch. The creaminess and flavour of the sauce was very similar to a Laksa.

Kin Khao Thai Restaurant Athlone
Kin Khao Thai Restaurant Athlone

The oxtail soup was very spicy from fresh red chilli and had some chunky pieces of lemongrass and galangal, with zingy notes from lime and kaffir lime leaves. The meat was fatty and a bit sinewy, but tasty. I thought that having a bone broth in the middle of winter would do me good.

The two dishes came together just a few minutes after ordering. I saw that some office workers were having lunch at the same time as me, so this place is good if you are in a bit of a rush to go back to work.

This restaurant has won many awards consistently over the years. In 2019 it was voted Best World Cuisine Restaurant for Westmeath at the Irish Restaurant Awards.

Kin Khao Thai Restaurant Athlone

Ambience at Kin Khao Restaurant Athlone

There’s an air of serenity and breathing space at Kin Khao that is really refreshing, and the tall ceilings really help. It’s a good place for a business meeting or a romantic dinner – for some reason, it’s very versatile. I would have preferred the service to be a bit more engaged but that’s a minor point.

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