Friday, October 28, 2011

Birthday Feast Part 2 - The Old Convent

Birthday Feasting Part 2 was scheduled for The Old Convent in Clogheen, Co Tipperary -We left Gregan's Castle and headed for Cahir where we stopped off and wandered around the fantastic well preserved 13th century Cahir castle - well worth a visit if you're in the area and only €3 each for the entry. 

We had stayed in The Old Convent before in June and we absolutely loved it - the warmth of the welcome, the comfort of the rooms, the dinner, the breakfast, the lovely drawing room, the many books strewn around, and the food :-) Dermot and Christine are exceptional, Dermot is a magnificent chef and Christine does front of house with a charm that is really unequalled in any place I've ever stayed, and next year they will be joined by baby Gannon! Congrats to them!
This time we had room 3 which is compact but oh so cute with a raised seated area, the most comfortable of beds, warm snuggly duvet and great pillows - I have truly turned into my mother judging a place by the quality of their pillow - she actually used to take her own pillow with her when she went anywhere - no need for that in The Old Convent! A beautiful touch was the vase of coral roses in the window.
Down to the drawing room with us just after 7.30p.m. where we enjoyed a glass of Prosecco for me and a Tempranillio for himself, and we got a bottle of each to accompany the dinner,  it was our birthdays after all ya know!!! (Excuses, excuses....) - €36 and €24 respectively, wouldn't it be great if those were our ages instead of the wine prices ;-)

Dermot's 8 course tasting menu is €65 per person and finished off with tea or coffee.

We began with Baked Dunmore East Crab with Glenelin Creme Fraiche and a couple of brioche soldiers, beautifully served in an egg shell and ( insert rolly eyes here) your intrepid food reporter - 'tis good to dream dear reader!!!! - forgot to take a photo till the plate was almost cleaned! Not much point taking a pic of an empty egg shell!

Next up was30 hour slow roast Ballinwilliam Rare Breed Pork with polenta, Crozier Blue, baby pear and candied pecans - utterly delicious, loved the micro red shiso. Billy, being Billy!, enquired as to what breed of pork we were eating, the lovely young girl serving us went off and promptly came back to tell us it was a Wild Boar and Tamworth cross.

This was followed by a Aubergine veloute with truffle oil served in a pretty purple espresso cup. Took a pic but it turned out crap!

Then we had Buttermilk Connemara Smokehouse Organic salmon with handmade potato gnocchi, sunchoke and Saffron cream. Scrummy!

Green Apple Sorbet with Traas farm strawberry apple jelly was then enjoyed, forgot to take a pic - bold me!

Mains was maple & Mint Braised Mountain Lamb with creamy white cocoa beans and autumn veggies.

Then Lemon Posset with blueberries and a warm ginger meringue. We actually had this also in June sans blueberries and it's delightful, LOVE the ginger meringue. In fact made it ourselves one night here and twas just luverly ;-)

The last dessert of the night was a Valrhona Dark Chocolate Pot with white chocolate mousse, cherries and caramelised hazelnuts. Had a taste of all the elements in the interests of being able to report for this blog but forgot to take a pic, probably the Prosecco kicking in there!
We then spent an enjoyable hour in the Drawing Room chatting with a few of the other guests and Christine, and a fantastic night's sleep after that.
Breakfast at The Old Convent is without doubt in my opinion FANTASTIC!! Great juices - orange or blackberry and apple. A glass with yogurt, fresh fruit, to-die-for candied nuts and cherry syrup. A great basket of breads - a brown soda with caraway seeds and a polenta, goat's cheese and pine nut concoction that was great!
Billy had the full Irish - no shock there then! - and it is one of the best Irish breakfasts ever - no arguments! The one Billy had was supplemented with delicious herby mushrooms with white beans, I decided he'd be ill if he ate them so devoured his portion. The kind server brought out a little extra dish of them.
I went for the waffles with bananas, cinnamon and white chocolate mousse - oh sweet Jesus - talk about decadence at breakfast!
Absolutely wholeheartedly and unreservedly recommend The Old Convent - a gourmet hideaway in a beautiful part of the country.

And the very best part I'll be back here for dinner again in just over 2 weeks time with a few of my colleagues - looking forward to it!


  1. I have heard so much about The Old Convent, and it's all good. The food looks amazing, but I am one of those with a faint appetite, and would not be able for large portions in a tasting menu. Another gorgeous place to visit.

  2. It's so relaxing there Colette, a real get away from it all.