St Kyrans restaurant near Virginia is a spacious modern country house on 6 acres of both formal & wild gardens running to the lakeshore. It has spectacular views over Lough Ramor, and on a summers evening as the sun sets to the west it is truly special.
When we recently visited St Kyran’s - situated 1km on the Dublin side of Virginia in Co Cavan - we couldn’t have imagined the treat that lay ahead. Coming in from the road it looks like any other B&B in the country, a long bungalow style property. However once inside it becomes immediately obvious that this is something very special indeed. From there, St. Kyran’s continued to exceed all expectations
St. Kyran’s restaurant is located to the rear of building, divided across two rooms and the width of the house. Full advantage of the views across the lakes has been taken into consideration with large picture windows that span across the ding room, and the terrace area that overlooks rolling gardens that work their way right down to the water.
On a summers evening tables are set outside, but come early as diners come from outside as well as people staying at St Kyran’s. Their secret weapon is head chef Conor McCann who trained under Paul Rankin in Belfast, and what he has done with the menus is sheer genius.
The restaurant is decorated in a striking red, with pieces of modern art arranged around. A large fireplace of flat, dark stone is a centre piece, and is further enhanced by one large painting which almost runs its width.
Tables are fully set with white linen cloths and large sparkling glassware, and a lovely distraction was a pair of binoculars on the window ledge to get an even closer look at the lake; I was fascinated watching a mother duck and her eight ducklings as she tried tirelessly to keep them together. As the sun sets lanterns are lit outside and the ambience is magical.
As we read through the menu a selection of warm homemade breads with soft butter, black olive tapenade and hummus were placed on the table with a bottle of still water. Starters ranged in price from €6.50 for a seasonal soup to €10.50 for a quail salad or seared scallops, while between were poached ham & pickles; pear & blue cheese or smoked salmon.
Main courses continued at the same high standard priced from €18 for pale smoked haddock to €29.50 for a fillet of beef, while guinea fowl and hake also made an appearance.
The wine list ran over four pages with a well selected list of whites; reds; sparkling and champagne or rose with a good choice also available by the glass at around the €6.50 mark. We chose a Touraine des Chezelles described by the Sunday Business Post as ‘a gorgeous Sancerre-like offering from 100% ultra-tart Loire sauvignon Blanc’
Dinner kicked off with a fab little amuse bouche of Dublin Bay prawn pannacotta with summer truffle, and it got the taste buds ready for what was to come. I started with the chicken liver & Foie gras parfait which was served with a rhubarb & apple chutney and toasted brioche, it was creamy and full of flavour without being over powering, and the brioche was sweet and perfectly soft. Fred went with the butternut squash soup which had a lovely kick to it, and came with more of their home made Artisan breads.
I followed with the Stone bass, beautifully grilled pieces of fish served with candied aubergine caviar and roast fennel, a fresh tomato vinaigrette & basil. The fish was perfectly cooked, and the roast fennel particularly was a fine accompaniment. Stone bass is a relative of the more well known sea bass; but unlike sea bass it is caught in Irish waters and isn’t farmed, and I was delighted to see it on the menu. I wish it was a more frequent occurrence.
Fred had the roast rump of Wicklow lamb seasoned with rosemary & garlic served on borlotti beans with roast red pepper, courgette, Kalamata olives and a salsa Verde. The lamb was served pink, and was a local triumph. Everything that came to the table was a work of art and tasted even better.
When it came to dessert we decided to sit on the patio to enjoy the views and we shared the lemon & lime posset which came with mascarpone & citrus cream, a piece of honeycomb and fresh raspberries. It was so light and refreshing; the perfect end to a spectacular evening,
We finished with coffee’s which came with a plate of petit fours. I had no space left but everything was so tempting I had to try them and chocolate truffles and rhubarb marshmallows were a piece of heaven I hadn’t tried before.
No words can do true justice to how special St Kyran’s is. We highly recommend if you are ever in the area, either to stay or stop when passing through.
Alternatively, make a special trip; it is well worth the journey, and like us, you will talk about it for weeks to come