Showing posts with label Cliff House Hotel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cliff House Hotel. Show all posts

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Dine by the Water

Dine by the Water
Superb food and superb views

Bunnyconnellan's
I’ve been very lucky this past few years to have dined in some well placed restaurants and cafes, places from Cork to Donegal that have a dining room with a view over water. Sometimes over a river, maybe over an estuary, over a lake perhaps, and then sometimes over the ocean. I was lucky too to have brilliant weather in most of the places.
Carrig Country House

Caragh Lake is in Kerry, not too far from Killorglin, and you have great views over its waters when you dine in the splendid Carrig Country House
Screebe House - their photo

There are some similarities between Carrig House and the lovely Screebe House  in Connemara; great food and great views. 
Blairscove

And in West Cork, near Durrus, there is Blairscove House. Here you can enjoy a splendid dinner and views over Dunmanus Bay.
Breakfast view (just a small section of it!) from the Trident's Pier One

There are no shortages of views in Kinsale. One of my most recent visits was to Man Friday on the hills above the bay Man Friday. And another recent visit was to the Trident Hotel, right in the town and so close to the waters that you think a boat is going to come through the dining room windows.
Sunrise at Garryvoe
The Samphire at the Garryvoe Hotel has expansive views of Ballycotton Bay and the lighthouse, excellent food too. And across the bay, its sister hotel, the Bayview has an even more spectacular cliff-top situation.
Hake at Celtic Ross
The views at Rosscarberry’s Celtic Ross, where French chef Alex Petit maintains a high standard, are quieter but no less pleasant.
Cliff House View
Ardmore’s Cliff House is renowned for the food, the views over the bay and their 3-word tweets!
Pier 26
Back again to Ballycotton and to Pier 26. This restaurant overlooks the harbour and the lighthouse island and the fish is highly recommended, of course! And down in Schull, L'Escale is right in the harbour area; the lobster here is a must try.


And if you really want a 360 degree ocean view while dining then take a trip from Ringaskiddy in Cork to Roscoff in Brittany on board the Pont Aven.  Splendid food and views!

Dingle

For harbour views, you'll find it hard to beat the sights as you come and go to Dingle’s Out of the Blue. And close by is the Boatyard. Fish will be on the menus of both for sure. Then again, there's a splendid view of Cork Harbour from the tea rooms at Camden Fort Meagher (below).
View over Cork Harbour from Camden Fort Meagher

Rosapenna

No shortage of seaside restaurants in Donegal. One of the best is the Seaview Tavern in Malin Head village even if the view to the sea is somewhat interrupted by the cars parking across the road. No such problems at the Rosapenna Golf Hotel, whose dining room overlooks Sheephaven Bay and the beach at Downies. Further west, the bar at the Cove at Portnablagh, another top restaurant, overlooks a different part of the same bay.
The Bayview, Ballycotton

Perhaps the best ocean view is that enjoyed from your table in Bunnyconnellan’s, a very pleasant view and very enjoyable food here at this renowned Crosshaven (Cork) venue.
Islander's Rest on Sherkin
Back to West Cork and to Baltimore and Le Jolie Brise where I’ve sometimes enjoyed a dish of mussels as the day drew to a close with the island of Sherkin out in front. Speaking of Sherkin, the Islander's Rest sure has great water views!
Ostan Gweedore
Hard to top that. One view that comes close, maybe level, maybe even better, is from the Donegal restaurant of Ostan Gweedore where there is the most fantastic view over the beaches and the waters of the Atlantic.

Turbot at Electric Fish Bar
Perhaps you prefer river views. One of the best in Cork is from Electric, especially from the Fish Bar. From the first floor of the South Mall building, you have fine views of the southern channel of Lee to the west and to the east.
River Lee Hotel, top left
Also in the city, you hand almost dip your fingers in the Lee as you wine and dine at the Weir Rooms of the lovely River Lee Hotel.  
View from the Spinning Wheel in Dripsey Garden Centre

The Spinning Wheel, above the same River Lee, is at the very popular Griffin’s Garden Centre in rural Dripsey. Here you can enjoy some of Granny Griffin’s delights as you watch the water-skiers speed by down below.

Never know what you might see passing as you dine in Cobh
You have no shortage of harbour views in Cobh where you’ll find The Quays and The Titanic Bar & Grill.  And you’ll also find pleasant estuary views not too far away at Murph’s  in East Ferry. 
Kenmare Bay
The Boathouse at Dromquinna, near Kenmare, is also well situated, right on the northern flank of the bay. And, in Limerick, the place to be is Locke Bar
Locke Bar's water-side tables

The Puffin Cafe on Long Strand, Castlefreke, Co.. Cork, is my latest addition (09.07.17). It overlooks that long beach and the ocean.

Have you a personal favourite view over water while dining? If you'd like to share, please use the Comment facility below.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Ten Top Dinners. And Lunches. 2014 Highlights

2014 Highlights


Excellent for Dinner
Oysters at Au Mille Saveurs


Le Flora (onboard Pont Aven)*
Ravioli. Le Flora
Sage*  
Zuni (Kilkenny)*
Sage. The 12 Mile Plate

Amicus
An Canteen (Dingle)
Blair’s Inn
Brook Inn
Cafe Gusto
Cafe Serendipity
Church Lane (Macroom)
Club Brasserie
Cornstore
Electric F
ely Wine Bar (Dublin)
Fleming’s
Greene’s
Huguenot
Jacque’s
La Dolce Vita
Market Lane
Mitchell’s (Clifden) F
O’Connor’s (Bantry) F
Oysters F
Pier 26
Rising Tide F
Star Anise
The Square Table
Tuscany Bistro (Ballina, Tipperary)
West End (Killarney)


Excellent for Lunch
Barnabrow




Bakestone Cafe
Ballymaloe Cafe
Bramley Lodge
Bula Bus U
Castle Cafe
Greenbarn (Killeagh)
Griffin’s Spinning Wheel
Isaac’s
Iyer’s
Pie Cafe (Dingle)
Sage (Youghal)
The Workshop
Toons Bridge Dairy


Excellent Hotel Dining Rooms
Cork International Hotel
River Lee Hotel


Newcomers to Watch
Aroi
CoqBull
Heather (Gap of Dunloe)
Huguenot
Pho Bar
Square Table


* Exceptional meal on visit
F  Great for fish
U  Most unusual lunch venue (in a parked bus)


All above visited last 14 months. Lots of other good places out there. If I didn’t get to your place last year, maybe we’ll meet in 2015! Hard to keep track - might need a reminder!








Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Ardmore. A Gem on the Waterford Coast.

Ardmore. A Gem on the Waterford Coast.
Breakfast at Cliff House
Ardmore is a gem on the Waterford coast. Fortunately, one the generous Deise folks don't mind sharing. Generations of people from neighbouring counties have made Ardmore their summer destination for its beaches, history, walks and the nearby mountains.


We headed there last Friday, the fabulous Cliff House Hotel above the village our final destination. But, as usual, we had a few stops and detours. First halt was in Youghal. It is not looking its best at the moment and hopefully the paint and brushes will be out and used before the season starts.
Ardmore

But there is no shortage of eating places here, well known like Aherne’s or newer and more casual such as Clancy’s. We were looking for a light lunch and Sage (not related to the restaurant of the same name in Midleton) had been recommended. It was bright and busy and I enjoyed my quiche and salad there. Details here.

Plan then was head to Helvic and work our way back through the Rinn gaeltacht. The fishing boats gathered in the harbour were a bit like some of the shops in Youghal, looking the worse for wear, but then the boats and the seaside towns (there are still sandbags in Youghal) have been through some horrendous weather in recent months and we are all hoping for better to come

Youghal

It was sunny and windy when we arrived in Helvick and now the rain made its appearance. So we wasted little time as we drove through Sean Phobal and so on, past the familiar beach at Ballyquin and on to Ardmore itself and up to the Cliff where a warm welcome awaited,a brolly held open even as we stepped from the car (a hint of the excellent service to come).


Soon we were installed in our room with a view and quickly made our way to the fabulous swimming pool, equipped with sauna and steam room and which also enjoys a great view over the bay.


Helvick

When the rain died down, we walked down to the town (to work up an appetite!) and made a loop back that took us past the famous round tower built in the 12th century. St Declan was here in the 5th century and his name is associated with some of the walks. Many (including a loop around the cliffs) start by the hotel and the staff there will give you all the information you need and indeed will provide a guide if necessary.


Your excursions from Ardmore needn't be confined to the coast. You may head for the nearby mountains. Mahon Falls is one of the attractions up there. If you want to do some shopping, then Cork and Waterford are each about an hour away while the lively towns of Lismore (for its castle and heritage centre) and Dungarvan are much closer.
Lismore

The Cliff House has some fantastic facilities though the outdoor dining areas were out of bounds last weekend! Do take time to explore. You will find quite a few books in your room but there are many more in the spacious and comfortable library which has one of the best views because of its height. The hotel is also unusual in that when you enter from the parking area, you are already on the fifth floor!


We enjoyed a memorable dinner there that Friday (details here). It was dark at that stage so we weren't able to take in the view but we did get it in the morning at breakfast, a very enjoyable breakfast I might add. In between, there was a call to the bar. An extensive menu of drinks here, as you'd expect, and delighted to see a terrific selection of Irish craft beers (and cider) on the list.
View from Cliff House room

Saturday was quite a decent day and we headed east to Portlaw (Waterford) and Turkstown (Kilkenny) to visit relations. Indeed, we visited Kilkenny, Waterford and then Tipperary in quick succession as we made our way home via Clonmel, Cahir and the M8. Only problem: what would we eat for dinner? The answer was in the freezer, the second portion of a curry made with Green Saffron’s Tikka cook-in sauce. Not quite Michelin! But just perfect.  

Looking towards Ardmore from Cliff House library






Monday, March 24, 2014

The Cliff House: Dining on the Edge

The Cliff House: Dining on the Edge
Which way to the Cliff House?
The Cliff House Hotel is an amazing building on the cliffs at Ardmore but it is its House Restaurant that is the star attraction, a Michelin star at that. Re-opened in 2008, after a huge investment, the hotel and the restaurant, have been at the cutting edge since. We were looking forward to the experience and we will be talking about it for a long time to come.
On the edge.
The restaurant has great views over the bay, back to the village and out to the ocean, but darkness was falling as we were led to our table near the panoramic window. The food was now the focus. And the wine, of course. There is a multi-course tasting menu, a very famous one indeed, but on this occasion we choose from the A La Carte (three courses €70.00).


They have an “exciting, surprising wine list”. Lots of study needed so we took the easy way out and went for the matching option (€27.50). The Cliff House is a huge supporter of local food (farm and sea) and no surprise either that they have a beer list that highlights many of the local craft brewers (including Eight Degrees, Dungarvan and O’Hara’s) as well as the excellent Stonewell cidery.
Breads
A Cauliflower panna cotta, edible Clay stones, and Beetroot and Soft Goat Cheese Macaroons were some of the Amuse Bouches that arrived in rapid succession. And then there were the breads, three of them, each tempting and delicious in its own way: Brioche, Spelt, and a Multi-seeded Cornbread.

With the pleasant preliminaries completed, we were on to the real starters. Both of us went for the West Cork Scallops: Seared, Grilled, Ceviche, Crème, Celeriac Preparations, Black Garlic, Lettuce, Dutch Salad, Irish Caviar. Amazing dish, great presentation (included a side glass), beautiful textures and flavours.
Amuse Bouche
You are probably familiar with Tokaji, the sweet Hungarian wine. From the same Furmint grape, they also make a dry white wine and our glass was an excellent example of this style (2011), quite dry but still luscious and aromatic. Well they did say the list was surprising!

Next there was a surprise sorbet, a little highlight to remember: a carrot and fennel sorbet with a Green tea foam. What a lovely combination of flavours and textures. If they take that kind of trouble with the small things, you can be confident of the big courses.
Scallops
And that superb standard continued throughout. CL loved her mains, the McGrath's Black Angus Beef: Fillet, Sausage, Small Vegetables, Potato Fondant, Kilbeggan Whiskey, Beef Tea, Garden Herbs. The beef was just so, pink and tender. And then there was a small wow moment when the Beef Tea was made at the table, the stock poured over the herbs in a little cafetiere!

I didn't have any “tea” with mine but loved every little bit of the Irish Rose Veal: Strip Loin, Stuffed, Oven Roasted, Sweetbreads, Blue Foot Mushroom, Bread and Butter, Veal Jus. That mushroom by the way was out of this world.
Beef
The wines, both red as you'd expect, were top notch. CL’s Orzado Carignan 2011 came from the Maule Valley in Chile while mine, Chateau Bellevue Bordeaux, mainly Merlot, was from much closer to home.

The time was flying by and we were on the verge of dessert. All through, the service was highly efficient but always there was time for a quick chat, the patience, and more importantly the knowledge, to answer a question. Flawless and friendly.
Veal
Chocolate often catches my eye and so I ordered the Organic Chocolate 65%, Alto el Sol Peru - Vintage 2013 and the Garofolo Madagascar Vintage 2012: Mousse, Crème, Vanilla Semi Freddo, Olive Oil, Sea Salt, ‘White’ Coffee Ice Cream. The matching wine was the Grenache based Banyuls Rimage, Pietri-Gerard, France 2011. Could have had a Dungarvan Stout with it but then a visit to the bar later was on the cards! Would have liked to tried a Rasteau with it.
Rhubarb 
CL had a last minute change of mind and was delighted with her Rhubarb: Sphere, Compote, Poached, Consommé, Yoghurt Candy Floss, Almond, Ginger, Honey Ice Cream. And delighted too with her sparkling wine match, the Cremant D’Alsace, Meyer-Fonne NV. A classy end to a top class meal.