Ireland’s reputation as a gastronomic haven is well-deserved, as the Image Interiors & Living team discovered following several recent jaunts around the country. In the first part of our series, we visit Waterford, Galway and Cork…
THE CLIFF HOUSE HOTEL, WATERFORD
One of the world’s most beautiful cliff-top hotels, Waterford’s Cliff House Hotel is worth the trip for the panoramic views across the picturesque Ardmore Bay alone. This five-star, 39-room boutique retreat sports an intimate destination spa with a variety of treatments and a Michelin-starred restaurant packed full of delectable dining options.
FOOD & DRINK
The House Restaurant is overseen by award-winning chef Martijn Kajuiter, whose tantalising tasting dinner menu boasts a particularly special starter collection of West Cork scallops, albacore tuna and duck foie gras. Main courses include Bantry Bay organic salmon with pickled vegetables, herbs and maple smoke, Helvick turbot accompanied by Lismore chanterelles, pistachio, bee pollen and line seeds, and a Skeaghanore duck dish complimented by chervil roots, garden kale and Vadouvan spices.
The dessert collection is alluringly exotic. Think organic chocolate, local blackberries and parfait nougatine with hibiscus, rhubarb and popcorn. The tasting menu costs €95 per person and requires the participation of the entire table.
Our spacious self-catering house located just above the main hotel, the Cliff Cottage instantly felt like a home away from home and offered incredible vistas from every front-facing window. On nice evenings, the veranda of the seafront bar is the perfect place to sip raspberry and mint cocktails, while taking in the sights and sounds of the beach below.
THE TWELVE HOTEL, GALWAY
Don’t be deceived: Barna may be small, but it has plenty of eatery options – from the hearty seafood chowder in Donnelly’s pub to a slice of Italy at Pizza Dozzina. Pick of the bunch, however, is the West Restaurant, found on the first floor of the Twelve Hotel.
FOOD & DRINK
After a day spent hiking and paddling through this charming Connemara-set village, Upstairs @ West Restaurant is a terrific spot for rest, relaxation and ridiculously good eats. Warm sourdough bread coupled with a side of hay oil prompts the unique feeling of an Irish summer. A feather-light amuse-bouche of salmon mousse with salmon caviar and samphire was then beautifully presented on a glass box.
A starter of Thornhill duck heart and raviolo and foie gras was accompanied by a flavourful consommé and hearty wild mushrooms. That’s merely to name but three but there’s a high level of originality found across the entire menu, particularly when you get to dessert.
Opt for chocolate ganache with beetroot confit, whiskey caviar and a walnut crumb for earthy and rich sensations. A glass of vintage port or muscat provides the perfect finish.
LONGUEVILLE HOUSE HOTEL, CORK
A vegan-friendly haven, Longueville House is an 18th century Georgian country house nestled in the heart of a hidden 500-acre wooded estate and every bit as resplendent as that sounds. Open log fires, antique family collections and fresh garden flowers add to a warm, natural atmosphere.
FOOD & DRINK
Longueville House’s owner and chef, William O’Callaghan, trained under Raymond Blanc at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons of Oxford and so his cookery skills are a force to be reckoned with. Enjoy an inventive meal by a roaring fire such as a seven-course tasting menu consisting of canapés, fresh beetroot, carrot and homemade vinaigrette and sundried tomato and pesto on toast. Delicately-fried courgettes stuffed with pearl barley, granita sorbets and lentil-filled samosas with roasted vegetables satisfy even the most sensitive of palates.
Pressed from their 25-acre apple orchard, Longueville’s own brand of cider goes down a treat, while a mint-seasoned berries and sorbet dessert makes for a light end to a delicious dining experience.
Featured image: William O’Callaghan of Longueville House