Exquisite Aldridge Lodge.
Accomplished Cooking in Attractive Corner of Wexford
Aldridge Lodge is one of Ireland’s hidden gems. A top class restaurant, with a Michelin bib since 2007, in rural surroundings just outside of the Wexford village of Duncannon (with its Kennedy family connections). Amazing food here and, hidden or not, you’ll be well advised to book well in advance. Even more so if you want one of the three rooms on offer.
The beautiful spacious rooms are very much in demand and I’m told that groups make annual dates here. They enjoy a great meal, at very reasonable prices, and then take a bottle or two of wine upstairs, where there is a very comfortable common room, and chat into the night.
Aldridge Lodge may in a secluded part of County Wexford but you won’t feel isolated here as the marvellous Hook Head Peninsula is just a short drive away - you may visit the lighthouse, the haunted Loftus Hall, Tintern Abbey and its 200-year old Colclough Gardens, and Ballyhack and its castle, and so much more.
|Duncannon Tasting Plate|
Billy Whitty and Joanne Harding are the owners here and the welcome is warm. Chef Billy met us as we parked and helped bring in the cases and invited us to come down for dinner at our leisure.
And it is leisurely, no rush, but no delays either! First you are brought into the bar area. The menus are brought as you sip your drink - I enjoyed their special Aldridge “G&T”! They don’t have a spirits licence so the special “G&T” is based on white port. Delicious!
The choice for the 35 seater restaurant is fantastic, almost totally local. Billy’s family are involved in fishing and farming in the area and are the main suppliers.
They have a Tasting Menu for just €35.00. After an amuse bouche in the lounge, you move into the dining room and do watch out for a superb starter, the Duncannon Tasting Plate: Tempura smoked salmon, smoked salmon mousse, smoked sea trout and a divine smoked haddock fish pie.
The Middle Course may offer Twice cooked free-range pork belly rib with celeriac purée, soya and honey jus. Or Seared Kilmore scallop with Gubbeen chorizo croquette and creamed cauliflower. Each terrific.
If you are there in winter-time, it is probable that venison will feature. I certainly enjoyed the Venison haunch and loin with a black pudding cake and tomato. CL’s choice was also superb: Glazed Free Range Chicken Breast with spiced sprouts, cranberry compete, roast baby parsnips, golden raisins, almonds and pan juices.
Desserts are also rather special. Ours were Raspberry Tiramisu and a Vanilla Crême Brulée with honeycomb. There’s an interesting and wide-ranging wine list, also a selection of ports and dessert wines. Quite a few available by the glass. We finished off with one of their specials: a glass of the delicious Stonewell Tawny. They also have local beers, mainly from the Cleverman range.
After a good night’s sleep, we woke to see the December sun shining over Duncannon before heading down to the same room for breakfast, another five star event, again with Billy in the kitchen and also front of house!
We didn’t go for the Full Irish, but rather the Full Fish! Let me give you a few details; the magnificent plate came with plaice fillets, reinforced with a poached egg (choice of hen or duck), tomatoes and a Portobello mushroom. All that after some terrific starters including Pear poached in red wine and a Yogurt pot with hazelnuts and raspberry.
That set us up for the day, for sure. Time then for a leisurely chat with the chef/owner before we struck off to Ballyhack to begin the journey home with a short ferry trip to Passage East, all the while promising ourselves we’d be back!