Garryvoe Hotel enjoys a majestic setting, overlooking the sea at Garryvoe on the east Cork coast. Looking out the window of our beautiful sea facing room I can see Ballycotton and it's lighthouse, and all the way down the coast in both directions.
Perhaps east Cork gets a little overlooked with so much focus on the west, but this is a seriously beautiful part of the country, and the amenities around, including Ballymaloe just up the road, and the breathtaking cliff walk from Ballycotton to Inch make this a serious destination in its own right, and that's all before you sit in the stunning reception room to the right of the centrepiece bar in the Garryvoe hotel listening to their quite excellent jazz trio and compare it to some of the finest hotels I have ever had the pleasure to stay in.
We arrived on a miserable Friday evening to attend one of their special dining experiences, which run throughout the year. This was the seafood and beef feast, and there is a game night coming up in November and a Masquerade Christmas feast in early December, which we are trying to get a gang together for. It all takes place in the Samphire Social eating space, which is just to the left of the stunn ing bar, and is indeed as social as the name suggests.
We were a bit late, what with rain and bad weather and we raced to make it. It was worth it, as our starter was a seafood platter of generous proportions and varied contents, a veritable smaorgasboard of salty lovliness with an excellent Picpoul wine from the south of France to match.
Our main course promised a roast rib of beef, which was presented on a cutting board, with a craving knife and fork, an a striped apron. So I set to carve slices of this perfectly cooked piece of beef, pink and tender. There was a fabulous spread of vegetables to accompany the main event; roast potatoes, creamy mash, roasted heritage carrots in white and purple, dinky little corn on the cob, kale sautéed with bacon bits, with a perfect Bearnaise Siamese and a rich gravy. It occurred to me that apart from the beef, a semi vegetarian friend of ours would have loved this meal, the vegetables were brilliant and a rather good Rioja was the perfect pairing.
After a suitable pause, and some more of the Rioja, the lights dimmed and individual baked Alaskas came to the table, flaming and adding a bit of theatre to the night. We managed a couple of slices each, before finished get with a good coffee, and a very welcome whiskey classic and vodka lime cocktail for Deirdre since we missed the cocktail reception before dinner.
Service from restaurant manager Ben and his team was faultless and we wandered down to listen to the jazz and just enjoy the lovely space.
The Garryvoe Hotel is a beautiful place to spend a weekend by the sea. Although we dined at one of their themed nights, food is a serious part of the offering here, and it's the destination of choice for locals each week who descend for Sunday lunch. Seafood comes from just down the road in Ballycotton. Meat and produce from local suppliers and they have a serious chef in Kevin O'Sullivan. This is definitely one place to add your wish list, it really is exceptionally good.