Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Birthday Feast Part 3 Cliff House Hotel

After our beautiful breakfast we headed for Villierstown, Co Waterford as Christine at The Old Convent had told us about the Hindu/Gothic gate lodge built there in the mid 1800's to commemorate the wedding of the owner of Dromana House.

We arrived early afternoon (Sat 22nd Oct) at Cliff House Hotel as the rain was pouring down. Check in was quick and efficient and a very friendly chap showed us to our room and explained the layout of the hotel etc. We had a lovely room (25) with heathery shades, fab bathroom and a wet terrace with a panoramic view of the Waterford coastline.
 Luckily the weather cleared up so we headed on the cliff walk and how amazing is that - talk about a potted history of Ireland! We passed a shipwreck, The Sampson which got wrecked in 1987, the Old Coastguard station, A lookout post, Fr O'Donnell's well. We passed fields planted with parsnips, carrots, potatoes and beet - the smell of parsnips in abundance is amazing. We then came to the graveyard which has the 12th century Round Tower, the remains of an ancient church with really well preserved carvings on the wall, a sailor's grave from 1947 where 11 of the crew of the SS Ary are buried.

Trust Billy to have got the one pair of wellies in the hotel that were leaking! Lmao! So at that stage we headed back to the hotel.
We spent a while enjoying the beautiful pool, outdoor hot tub, sauna and steam room and by this time we had a fine appetite built up for dinner having had ZILCH since breakfast. Cliff House's chef is Dutch man  Martijn Kajuiter and they hold Munster's only Michelin Star.

Polished ourselves up a bit and headed to the bar for a pre-dinner cocktail - I had a beautiful Green Apple Martini - €12. Once again we were having the tasting menu with paired wines - €85per person for the dinner and €40pp for the wines. I was quite happy to see the menu had the wine pairing written underneath the food on the menu, it's impossible to remember what wine one had otherwise.

As I have already said in earlier posts I do not have adequate words to describe the intensity of the flavours, the food pairings, the art on a plate so if you have the opportunity go there for yourself and let your taste buds and your eyes be amazed by the plates you will be presented with. 

On the table when we sat down was a little pack of crisps, delicious salty slightly greasy crisps - Mr Tayto eat your heart out boy!

We were then given an amuse bouche - the thing of beauty on the right of the picture is a beetroot meringue-ey type thing with goat's cheese, so melt on the tongue. Save us all from old age but neither me nor himself can for the life of us remember what the yoke in the glass was! There were hazelnuts sprinkled on top and it tasted delicious, ok!

Edited 2/11/11 - This morning thanks to Twitter, where my inner foodie is realeased with a passion, Martijn, the genius chef at Cliff House told me what was in the glass - Thank you Martijn !

Whipped and Peppered Glenilen Yoghurt, Ardmore Carrots Jelly - crunch of dehydrated Yoghurt,Hazelnut and Blue berry Blossoms..

The breads were presented on a small slate plate, a sea salt brioche and a soda type bread with a slab of butter made at the Cliff House.

Next up what was described on the menu as The Cliff House "Snacks" -
These were paired with Pinot Blanc "Vieille Vigne", Meyer-Fonne, Alsace, France, 2008.

In this picture we have West Cork Scallop/Garden Spinach/Samphire.

Baby potato/Glenilen Yoghurt/Irish Caviar -

Quail egg "-20*C Cured/Squash/Veal/Hazelnut

Foie Gras/Red Cabbage Textures/Celeriac

Next - Bantry bay Organic Salmon/ Garden Beetroot/Cucumber/Oak Smoke.
This is presented under a glass dome which when lifted there's a rush of smoke out and the smell lingers on whilst eating.
The complementing wine was Marsanne, Chateau Tabhilk, Nagambie Lakes, Victoria, Australia 2008.
I'm not sure what was in those pink pearly things, see 3o'clock position on plate but they tasted so salmony.
Ya ok I know, my food descriptive writing skills are shite!


Then onto Helvick Cod/Irish Abalone/Garden leeks/Sea vegetable
It was good believe me - must've been - I forgot to take a pic!
It was paired with an Austrian wine 2010, Gruner Veltliner "von den Terrasen" Sepp Moser, Kremstal.

McGrath's Black Angus Beef followed with Garden vegetables/Bone Marrow/Beef Tea 2011.
There is a bit of a production with the beef tea which we enjoyed, the waitress brought a cafetiere with herbs - rosemary, thyme, parsley and garlic. She then poured the contents of a tea pot, a rich beef jus into the cafetiere, it infuses for a few minutes to give a rich flavoursome "gravy".
The teamed wine was Seleccion Especial, Albadia Retuerta, Ribera del Duero, Spain 2008.
Next we got a fennel sorbet as a pre-dessert

Next onto the first of two desserts and numero uno came to us like this - a pizza box arrived at the table!

Inside was this deliciousness - Apple Discovery the menu reads with Cranberry/Apricot/Tonka Bean/Lemon/Hibiscus

And finally in excess of 3 hours after we sat down Dark Chocolate 70% - White Coffee Ice Cream/Olive Oil/Sea Salt
The accompanying wine was Rivesaltes Ambre, Domaine Cazes, Roussillon, France 1999

So the following morning we had a delicious breakfast - the ubiquitous full Irish for Billy, kippers with herb butter for me and we headed on the road home. I have to say the three nights of fine dining were magnificent, 3 very different places to stay and all offering and showcasing the very best of Irish food,



  1. Absolutely gorgeous-looking food, Caroline. I really must put The Cliff House Hotel on my list to visit. Looks like a beautiful place to go. Glad you enjoyed your Birthday Foodie Trip.

  2. It's truly fab Colette, I'm looking forward to getting back there sometime when the weather is a bit finer, it must be stunning to sit on the balcony overlooking the bay on a fine night.

  3. Nice review and pics Caroline. Martijn's doing a tasting menu in the Cliff Townhouse on the 14th Nov to which I'm going and if I was excited already, I'm even more excited now after looking at your blog!!

  4. Thanks for popping by Richard and enjoy the 14th!