May 08, 2015
Unforgettable, perfection and delicious are the three words that come to mind when describing my dining experience at the Bell Tower of Castlemartyr Resort. A dining experience I will never forget. As we drove through the gates of the Castlemartyr Resort, we entered the world of tranquility and relaxation. The sky was bright blue and the sun was glistening on the lake making the grounds of Castlemartyr Resort even more beautiful than usual. I treated my Dad to the Bell Tower experience this time and he was in his element. We arrived down a little early for our dining experience so we decided to go for a short walk outside around the mature grounds on such a perfect day.
It was time for dinner so we made our way into the charming, elegant bell tower. We were greeted by the friendly staff and escorted to our table overlooking the beautiful, luscious gardens. Even though it is an elegant experience, the restaurant gives a relaxed vibe, which allows you to unwind and enjoy the evening in comfort. It was like being in a fairytale with the splendid surroundings. There was a touch of vintage to the room with amazing attention to detail. Surrounded by fresh flowers, candle light and in the centre of the room lay a little stack of books, which simply added to the relaxed atmosphere.
The menu featured delicious dishes, offering something for everyone. What struck me was the way in which it offered the very best cuisine from local and seasonal produce. It was perfect with the beautiful surroundings accompanying the local food. All the food is prepared by the talented head chef Kevin Burke and his team. Offering a taste of honest, local food. For me, sometimes I can find it hard to order in a restaurant as I have a few allergies. Chef Kevin Burke made me feel so comfortable and was able to give me lots of options while ordering. The choice on the menu was just amazing. We decided to go for different things so we could taste as much of the beautiful, creative dishes as possible. We started with pan fried scallops, carrot and buttermilk, crisp carrot, caper and white raisin dressing. The pan fried Irish scallops were cooked to perfection with a touch of crunch on top of each one. Absolutely delicious with the heavenly flavors bursting with each bite. We also tried the Ballycotten smoked salmon, anchovy beignet, soft boiled quail eggs with warm potato salad. A taste of the local produce prepared and presented with precision. The plate presented was unbelievable. Almost like a piece of art. What a treat.
Fennel soup came next. What I loved about this was the creative aspect to the serving of the soup. Normally soup comes out and is just placed in front of you. Not this time. It was served with the fennel in the bowl and the hot soup was poured on top of the vegetables at the dining table. An extra touch. The divine flavor was sublime and the presentation was something very unique. We also had the grapefruit sorbet, which was an ideal, refreshing option between courses.
The main course was a hard choice, as everything looked exquisite. I just had to try the Hareford beef fillet, braised cheek beignet, crisp potato terrine, creamed parsley and red wine jus. It really was excellence on a plate. The beef was cooked exactly to my taste and the juices and flavors I enjoyed were out of this world. I also tried the West Cork duck breast, quince and vanilla, slow cooked turnip, buttered baby turnip, redcurrants. It was by far the nicest duck I ever tasted, bursting with flavor.
Dessert... my favourite part of any meal! I was so full but I always make a little room for dessert. What I loved about the menu was it varied from light and fruity desserts to tempting chocolate desserts. As there was two of us enjoying the experience, we decided to go for a taste of both options. First we tried the baked yoghurt, poached pineapple, pineapple and pepper sorbet, chouz beignet. I loved this dessert, as it wasn't a heavy dessert. A fruity dessert, accompanied by a little taste of sweetness. Next up was the créme brulée. White chocolate biscotti, spiced plum with ginger and lime sorbet. How do I describe this one... well it is heaven on a plate!
Along with tea and coffee came a beautiful plate of delights. Homemade honeycomb, white chocolate biscotti and a chocolate truffle covered in coca powder. The perfect combination of flavors. The views, food, service and attention to detail is what makes this spot so special. Even writing this blog, I am already thinking of when can I go back and what I will order the next time. It truly is an amazing, delicious, flavorsome treat.
Five course gourmet menu, €62.50 per person. A la carte also available. For bookings please contact +353 21 421 9000.
Blogger: Stephanie Lynch of OnTheQT.ieHotel Cork