Cahernane House Hotel is just off the Muckross Road, a 10 minute walk from the centre of Killarney. Approached through a tunnel of greenery and positioned on acres of parkland, Cahernane is the perfect retreat to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The house itself dates back to 1877, and has been extremely well maintained ever since. The main reception area and original drawing rooms boast many original features and are home to many antiques and artifacts. A new annex has been added to the original house and has blended in very well. It is home to bedrooms and several seating areas where one can relax and enjoy fabulous views of the gardens or on a sunny day, enjoy drinks on the terrace or swing from a tree in the gardens.
There are two dining options in Cahernane, The Herbert Restaurant and The Cellar Bar. The Herbert Restaurant is located in one of the old dining rooms off the main reception area. It is a large room divided in two and very much in keeping with the old house. It is a formal dining area, set with crisp white linen and a full selection of silver and glassware.
Tables with high back velvet chairs are placed around the room, and there are candles and fresh roses on all the tables. The wallpaper is gold and heavy drapes hang at the original sash windows which overlook the beautiful gardens and fields for as far as the eyes can see.
Water and a selection of breads were brought to the table to nibble on while we browsed the menus. I had never tasted nettle and smoked cheese bread before, and it was so good I am getting the recipe. The menu is a set which offers two courses for €39.00 or three courses for €48.00, both to include tea or coffee, while there is a separate children’s menu for the little people in your life.
Five starters include a summer salad crumbed with Bluebell Falls goat’s cheese, a chicken liver parfait and a soup of the day, which was cream of tomato and basil. A further five main courses offered a grilled Irish sirloin steak, roasted Irish chicken breast or a pan-fried salmon ratatouille. Desserts are homemade, and tempt with dark chocolate tart, liquorice and lime parfait with poached pears and butterscotch sauce.
The wine list is extensive and makes for great reading with a short list of house wines priced between €26-30.00. Then there is a list of recommendations priced from €28.00 for a Vaqueros Blanc, up to €94.00 for an Hermitage La Sizeranne. After that the wines were divided between into different vineyards and regions of the world, a good selection of half bottles, champagnes and ports. We ordered a bottle of the Will Taylor Riesling which was well priced at €38.00.
I started with the smoked salmon and horseradish terrine which was light and full of flavour, while Fred had the slow-roasted breast of pork with Sneem black pudding, and turned out to be another good choice. I followed this with the roast breast of duck which was a good serving and cooked to perfection, served perfectly pink. He had the baked fillet of cod which was so fresh it still tasted of the sea. Cooked just right, it was still firm and there was none of that cotton wool nonsense one gets from overcooking the fish. After this, even our dessert tummies were full, so we finished with a tea and a coffee, and shared a selection of farmhouse cheeses with biscuits.
Olivia supervises everything in The Herbert Restaurant and between herself and her team they have really created a fine dining experience to be enjoyed by all. No matter what your preference; a fine dining experience, something more casual or just a fab base to explore the area, Cahernane House Hotel comes highly recommended.
** The other option at Cahernane is in The Cellar Bar, which, as its name suggests is located in the basement. This is a more casual dining experience with really good quality food. Starters are priced from €5.95 for soup of the day to €8.95 for a goat’s cheese and red onion tartlet, and there is also Dingle Bay seafood chowder or a crispy spring roll of chicken confit. The mains are priced with salads at around €13.95; pasta dishes at €15.95 or a sirloin steak for €22.95.