Saturday, 16 January 2016

Cliff House Hotel

My sisters and I sent our parents to the Cliff House Hotel last year for a present and when they returned from their Waterford adventure, they didn't stop raving about the place. Me and Ev are foodies and instead of spending our wages in the pub every weekend, we like to save up and take part in culinary experiences ( we've been to Nevin's MacNean House twice, l'Ecrivain and are slowly working our way around the tasting menus in Ireland!)- it was my anniversary present to him- a night away in the hotel, with a couples massage in the Well Spa and the Tasting menu in the one star Michelin House Restaurant .

This was my first time in Waterford. The drive down is beautiful (it was roughly about a 2.5 hour journey, but that was because we couldn't resist a stop in Avoca on the way for a Coconut Cappuccino!) and you really get to see Ireland, the landscape and it's mighty fine greenery.  I think I often take it for granted. 

{ have you tried the Cappuccino made with coconut milk from Avoca? It's amazing. No need to add sugar and it's so creamy...I live about 40 minutes away from my nearest Avoca, which is maybe a good thing because these things could be seriously addictive...)

{ok I added a filter, but seriously, check out the sky...}

We arrived early afternoon and once we checked in, a lovely gentleman knocked on our door with Prosecco to soak up while looking at the view. Tweet them before never know, you might get a surprise! That's what's so spectacular about the hotel...each room is positioned right in front of the sea, you are literally snuggled into a cliff and if you open the windows you can hear the waves crashing below...pure bliss! We went for a standard room, but it's huge...the bathroom has heated tiled floor, there is a nespresso machine in the room and my room had a pink and tartan theme going on throughout it! There was also a heavenly turndown service that we discovered coming back from dinner that night that I probably didn't appreciate as much as I should have (hey I had one too many...!)- lavender pillow bags on the bed and peaceful music set. Bliss!

We had a very quick lunch in the bar restaurant on our arrival(which was yum!) and went to straight to the Well Spa afterwards for our treatments. 90 minutes of pure heaven. I often get spa treatments, but this was the first time being in the same room as Ev whilst getting one- I thought I was going to burst into a fit of giggles!!!  The couples room is beautiful and actually has a view of the sea...We checked out the sauna room, the pool and the outdoor jacuzzi (which I loved because it was freezing and raining outside yet I was toasty!) once we had gathered enough energy from the relaxation room....hey life's tough right?!Check out the Couples Spa menu here!

Our Tasting Menu, curated by Martijn Kajuiter, who focuses on Irish produce, was at 8pm. Having done a few now, we have learn't a few tricks- don't leave a huge gap between foods that day. People often leave hours between meal time thinking they will be stuffed- not at all. The experience goes over three hours and you never feel uncomfortable!! Check out the wine list before hand. Generally, wine prices tend to be a lot more then your average restaurant, so make sure you budget for this. But you are not at an average restaurant. The wines have been tried, tested and specifically picked. I chose an amazing half bottle of Mas de Daumas Gassac, Samuel Guibert 2013 and haven't stopped talking about it...Do some research before hand (Ev actually likes the surprise element on the day....but I love getting to know new tastes that i'll be experiencing!). Tasting menus for me are like a gourmet cabaret show- it's an event, so be prepared to be entertained. 

Dinner was top notch. Served on the most amazing dining set by Pordamsa- the copper cutlery are to die for!!!

We had for our Amuse Bouche; a cheese and onion froth, beetroot macaroons served with goats cheese and a celeriac mousse. 

What we had for our starters we had West Cork Scallop with jerusalem Artichoke, Ham & Sea Spinach, Dungarvan Rock Oyster with Seaweed, Cucumber & Curry and Duck Foie Gras with Milk, Mushroom, Black Olive & Cracker;

What we had for mains; Atlantic Halibut served with Cauliflower, Hazelnut & Piccalilli Ice Cream, Helvick Cod served with Oxtail, Razorclam, Crosnes & Saffron and Irish Rose Veal served with a Winter Casserole, Tarragon & Maple Smoke

Dessert; Organic Chocolate 65% - Coffee, Olive Oil, Gold & Sea Salt, Seabuckthorn- Rice, Cream & Hops and Parfait “Nougatine”  served with Hisbiscus ,Apple and Popcorn.

I literally rolled out of the restaurant and went straight the bar. The bartender made this most amazing Spiced Ginger Mojito- served in a giant jam jar (the thing was the size of my head!)- what I loved most about the drink was they they used the Old Jamaican ginger beer, which not a lot of bars stock and pubs never have it, so it was a proper treat!

Breakfast the next morning was simply delicious. The view of the bay, fruit plates and yoghurt to start, a three-tiered stand of bakery items, and then a choice of hot foods. We were full till the late afternoon. The weather in Ireland has been particularly bad this year, so we didn't take a walk up the cliffs (though the hotel has an entire wall dedicated to Hunter wellies should you have forgotten yours....) and so we took a walk instead on the beach as the tide was out and it was super fresh out.

{how cute are these Hunter wellies? Such a good idea....}

We said that if we were to come back, it would be for two nights, so we could spend more of the day exploring and walking and taking in the views...Ireland can be so incredibly beautiful when there is a pocket of blue sky on show...


DRINKS IN HOUSE RESTAURANT (1/2 bottle of wine + 3 craft beers) €77

Please also take into account tipping, travel to and from, drinks in the bar afterwards and early lunch we had at the bar restaurant.

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