Monday, December 15, 2014

Dinner from Neven Maguire’s Kitchen

Dinner from Neven Maguire’s Kitchen
Prestige Menu at MacNean House
Thornhill duck (medium); full menu at bottom of this post.

It’s about four hours and twenty minutes from our house in Cork to Neven Maguire’s MacNean House and restaurant in Blacklion. But it’s well worth the trip as we found out when we had dinner at the famous County Cavan venue last Friday night. And, yes, Neven was in the kitchen, as he regularly is!

Neven and his wife, Amelda, took inspiration for the new décor and recipes from extensive travel and research in London, Paris, Australia, New Zealand and Thailand. The restaurant's menu reflects his continued advocacy of local and artisan producers and insistence on high quality, seasonal and traceable produce.

The dining room is bright, spacious and beautifully decorated. Colours are muted and you soon feel at ease in the comfortable chairs. Of course, the bar area is very comfortable as well and here you can have your aperitif, listen to the live music (a local trio last Friday) and study the menu. Not too much studying required though if you go for the Prestige Menu as this requires the participation of the whole table (there were six of us). And the only choice you need to make is between the beef and the local duck.

Needless to say, service was friendly and immaculate. The various dishes were well sized, the intervals between well judged and the wine pairings (optional) were excellent. These latter were chosen by Blaithin McCabe. Wouldn’t normally pick a Gamay but the one here could change that. Similarly, the Picpoul de Pinet is one of the best I’ve come across. And I was toasting Yalumba’s Jane Ferrari as I sipped the dessert wine.
Seared breast of Partridge

Don't want to bother you with too much detail about the meal. You can see the menu below for yourself. The Partridge was perhaps the highlight for me of the early dishes, perfection itself. CL was delighted with the Crab Cocktail and the Scallop.

Our hosts had very strongly recommended the Thornhill Duck Breast and it is a superb product and, after the intervention of Neven and his team in the kitchen, it becomes a superb dish. Yes indeed, very highly recommended with both of us in full and enthusiastic agreement!

Ryefield cheese

Neven’s commitment to local producers is underlined throughout his menus. Ryefield Goat Cheese, from County Cavan,  was featured on the cheese course. The highlight towards the end is, of course, the Chocolate Sensation. This has quite a visual impact as the perfect sphere of dark chocolate collapses seconds after the sauce is poured on from a wee jug! Tastes good though, very good indeed!


Aside from the Prestige Menu (€87), MacNean’s also serve a Dinner Menu (72) and Sunday Lunch (39). A relatively new addition that you may not know about is the The Chef’s Table. This is next door in the Cookery School and will accommodate between 10 and 20 guests. Neven and his dedicated team will cook and serve your meal in full view of your guests.

Dining room

You know of course that Neven has quite a few cookbooks to his name, including the most recent called Fast. But you can also see some of his recipes online here.

Check Chocolate Sensation video!
Danger: You may find yourself licking the screen.

The Prestige Menu
Neven’s 9 course signature Tasting Menu.


Crab Cocktail (Oriental tuna, Poached oysters and Celeriac Mousse)

Partridge (Seared breast and, not in picture, Confit leg, creamed spinach and potato Rostis)

Seared Sea Scallops (Carmelised pork cheek and textures of pumpkin)

Salt and Aged Beef Fillet (Braised short rib and creamed celeriac)


Thornhill Duck Breast (seared Foie Gras, Wild mushroom polenta and butternut squash puree)

Ryefield Cheese (Fritter and cannelloni with textures of beetroot)


Chocolate Sensation
(chocolate sphere, brownie, caramel mousse and ice cream).

Tea or Coffee and Petit Fours

The wines

Champagne Charpentier Brut Prestige NV

Lucien Ladry Moulin-a-Vent, Vielle Vignes, Beaujolais 2012

Domaine Felines Jourdan, Picpoul de Pinet, 2013

Cannonau Costera, Argiolas, Sardina 2011.

Yalumba Botrytis Viognier, Australia

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