Showing posts with label Blairscove House. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Blairscove House. Show all posts

Friday, May 15, 2015

Staying at Blairscove House. A Perfect Place.

Staying at Blairscove House

A Perfect Place.
West Cork’s Sheep’s Head Peninsula is a special place to visit and in Blairscove House (above) you have a rather special place to stay.

And being in Durrus, it  is a convenient location not just for Sheep’s Head but also for Mizen Head, Bantry, Glengarriff, and the Ring of Beara including the stunning Healy Pass. So much, so close.

Blairscove House is discreetly situated on a small hill overlooking Dunmanus Bay. No nightclubs in the immediate vicinity but if it's peace and quiet you want after a meal at the beautiful restaurant, you’ll get it, maybe sipping a final glass as the sun goes down in front of you.
Above & below: Views from the Loft
There is a choice of accommodation, for couples and families. The owners themselves live in the big blue house which also contains the reservation office. Some of the apartments have views both to the sea and to the landscaped courtyard that often serves as the centerpiece for weddings here.

On our recent visit, we stayed in the Loft, ideal for a couple. It is part of the core complex, sea out front, courtyard at the other side. And, very conveniently, it is just a short flight of steps down to the restaurant! Like all the units, it is very modern, and is fully equipped for self catering and for B & B. We were there for just one night but could have stayed a lot longer!

No shortage of equipment here - we could have done all our own cooking! There was a welcome complimentary drink of sherry. In addition, champagne and white wine were in the fridge and a red in the cupboard; water and milk too!

Breakfast is part of the deal at The Loft as it is in some of the other rentals. The menu is there for you, so you choose one from each of four groups (juice, cereal, “main course”, and tea or coffee), leave it in the restaurant or post in the Cow postbox in the evening, giving the time you want it at.

In the morning, the phone will ring and the breakfast lady arrives. She sets your table, lays out the dishes and your food and then you tuck in. All very convenient indeed. 

The names of the other accomodations are The Piggery, The Coach House, The Smokehouse, Blairscove Cottage and Dunmanus Pier (not adjacent to the main house). Check out the details here.

The house at Dumanus Pier has indeed a rather special situation but don't expect breakfast here as it is some eight miles away. It has its compensations as there are fantastic beaches nearby including Barley Cove and the lively village of Schull is just down the road.
Breakfast is served, top right.
Top left: Porridge, bananas, honey and cream.
Bottom left: Scrambled duck egg with Gubbeen sausage and tomato.
Bottom right: Crumpet, crushed avocado, poached egg and bacon.
The various properties are pristine today but that wasn't the case when the De Mey family took them over in the early 80s. Great credit is due to them as they have created something of a calm paradise here, an oasis in Durrus (which, with Durrus Cheese and the Good Things Cafe), is quite a food hub.

Even in paradise, and even after a hefty breakfast, man must eat of course and all the more so if you have been taking one of the many gorgeous walks on the peninsula, as we did here. And your first stop just has to be their restaurant and bar. We had the most fantastic evening meal there during our all too short stay. The end of a perfect day in a perfect place.

See also (from this trip): Dinner of Delights at Blairscove House

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Taste of the Week. Cocktail in a Tea Pot!

Taste of the Week.
Cocktail in a Tea Pot!
At Blairscove House.
The Woodward Rose cocktail
We were checking the cocktail menu before dinner in Blairscove House in Durrus last week and CL decided on the Woodward Rose. The description looked promising: Hendricks Gin, St German Elderflower liquor, Karmine Pressed Apple Juice, and Raspberries. She got a bit of surprise though when she was served with a tea pot, sitting in a cup.

The cocktail was in the tea pot and it was then poured into the cup and was perhaps the best cuppa she ever had, our Taste of the Week! In the bad old days of prohibition in the United States (1920-1933), people used all kinds of containers to hide the alcohol, the tea pot being one suggested by Hendricks. By the way, dinner in Blairscove was top class as you may read here.

See also (from this trip): Dinner of Delights at Blairscove House
Walking on Sheep's Head Peninsula
Castlefreke and Rathbarry, The Castles And The Wood

Staying at Blairscove House. A Perfect Place.

Monday, May 11, 2015

De Mey Magic at Blairscove House. Dinner of Delights

De Mey Magic at Blairscove House

Dinner of Delights

At dinner in Blairscove House in Durrus, you are very likely to meet owners the De Mey family: parents Philippe and Sabine De Mey along with daughter Ann and husband Chris Woodward. Head Chef Ronald Klotzer is Sabine’s brother.

The friendly family do most of the serving themselves, starting in the well stocked bar. This has beers on draught along with craft beer in bottle and virtually every spirit you can think of. There is a long and very interesting wine list and they also take pride in their cocktails.

Our apartment was overhead, so this was probably the shortest walk I ever made to a restaurant, though there was a pause on the stairs to take in the stunning sunset views over Dunmanus Bay.
Hadn't tried the Mountain Man’s Sneaky Owl beer previously so I was quite happy to take up the suggestion and happier again as I sipped the dark liquid. CL got quite a surprise when her Woodward Rose cocktail arrived in a teapot. During the days of prohibition in the US, people took all kinds of measure to disguise their alcohol, hence the teapot.

Quite a few of the wines are available by the glass and also some by the half bottle. We went half and half as our main courses were so different. I must say I was very happy with the El Coto Rioja Crianza (2010) but that was as nothing compared to CL's enthusiasm for the Rochebin Macon Lugny Chardonnay (2012).
I had to check that out and indeed, through a series of hard-won sips, found it was an gem from the home of the grape, an organic one at that. Nose is intense, it is balanced and fine on the palate, refreshing at all stages, especially in the finish.

The restaurant is located in a former barn. It is high, like a church, and the tall windows overlooking Dunmanus Bay were recesses through which the hay was pushed down to the animals from the loft above. Now, the loft is removed and they feed the hungry humans there in five star comfort. And they don’t throw it in through the windows!
Some starter options
There is a staggering array of starter options, decoratively displayed on a table, and you get all the help and information you need to make your choices. Basically, aside from the unusual smoked egg (one of the breads was smoked sourdough), I went fishy: a few oysters, cooked salmon and some salmon gravadlax. You could be tempted to overdo it here but restrain yourself, there is so much more to come. CL’s choices included curried quinoa with raisins and pomegranate seeds and the same salmon dishes as mine.

My main course, and there is an excellent choice (with a couple of specials thrown in), was the Grilled Rack of West Cork Lamb with Aubergine cheesecake and wilted spinach, served with the lamb jus and garlic cream.The presentation was deceptively simple, understating the pleasure ahead. The soft fat quivered like jelly. The blushing meat (no less tender) opened easily to the probing of the knife. Add in the accompaniments and I had paradise on the palate.

More starter options
What a splendid line-up CL had on her plate: Poached Breast of Guinea Fowl, tea soaked prunes and Savoy cabbage, Jerusalem artichoke purée and smoked bacon emulsion. Again the presentation was simple but it was flawlessly cooked and bite after bite of exquisite delight. Just to mention, the potato and vegetable sides were also spot-on.

Desserts (and cheese, including the local Durrus) are displayed on the Grand Piano. You are given a good sized plate before you are guided through the stunning selection of cakes and pots and other enticing options. I’m sure they are all gorgeous but I enjoyed my selection, especially the Tiramisu while CL, who likes her citrus, thoroughly enjoyed her Orange Cake and Lemon Tart.

So then we sipped our coffee from an elegant pot before making our way back up the steps outside to our apartment. Convenient or what?

See also: Walking on the Sheep's Head Peninsula
Taste of the Week. Cocktail in a Tea Pot
Castlefreke and Rathbarry, The Castles And The Wood

Staying at Blairscove House. A Perfect Place