Nestled in the bosom of the Boyne Valley, Bellinter House is a sight to behold. The stunning Downton Abbey esq house stands dramatically on the sweeping grounds which play host to a variety of accommodations. From the moment we stepped out of the car we were in awe. Immaculately manicured lawn dotted with enormous, mature trees and rambling roses.
Ascending the steps to this beautiful period house, you are immediately captivated by its charm. Stepping in to the warmth of the beautiful reception area, we were greeted by Sean and Barbara on reception. Undoubtedly, two highly valuable members of staff as their good humour and clear love for their work is infectious. Bellinter House had just been completely Christmasified and this was not lost on us. Huge Christmas trees adorned with twinkling fairy lights and glittering ornaments, a fantastic place to officially kick off the festive season.
We were informed that we would be staying in The School House. Sean, the very friendly and enthusiastic trainee manager, led us out of the main house and down to this little hidden gem in the estate. Assuring us that we would be in a world of our own for the night, Sean was not wrong. The School House is a small outbuilding comprised of two new bedrooms that have only been open a little over a year, designed and styled by ex GM Paul Behan. Secluded, private and peaceful, an idyllic little haven in which to escape.
A king size bed dressed in crisp white, muted grey walls with some lovely paintings and a stunning ensuite with an incredible bath. This room has very poor signal and Netflix is installed for your viewing pleasure so you can do nothing here only relax as using your phone or laptop is not really an option, this can be a very good thing when you really need to escape and unwind.
Pre-dinner cocktails are a must in the exquisite drawing room. Sipping happily on a Pear Collins and a Whiskey Sour, the ambiance lulling us into a state of pure relaxation. Lots of people were ordering food, the wafting scents enticingly working up our never too dormant appetites just in time for our dinner reservation.
Making our way to the restaurant, located below ground in an almost cave like room, we were welcomed into a truly unique space decked out with emerald green and dusky pink chairs with accents of gold. The staff in Bellinter really are outstanding, so friendly and efficient.
To begin we ordered the Bellinter Beef Fillet Carpaccio, Herb & Yoghurt Dressing, Parmesan Shavings and Croutons. Wafer thin slices of delectable beef accentuated by the nutty Parmesan. Herb & yoghurt dressing elevating the flavour level to an all time high. A simply but really delicious start.
Pan Seared Scallop, Smoked Irish Black Pudding, Butternut Squash Puree was the second starter of the night. As huge scallop lovers this is a dish that can either delight or disappoint, there really is no in between when it comes to scallops. Delight it did. The scallops cut like room temperate butter, fresh and properly handled, perfection. Butternut squash and black pudding the perfect plating partners for these succulent little suckers.
A winter favourite of ours, Crispy Confit Duck Leg arrived to the table served atop a bed of creamy mashed potato. Earthy celeriac puree and sweet roast plums cutting the richness beautifully and juniper jus rounding off the plate in flavourful style.
Our second main of Slow Braised Pork Belly shared the plate with a wickedly indulgent wholegrain mustard mash, baby spinach salad and the sweet, apple beauty that is calvados sauce. A hearty plate of belly warming goodness
Desserts came highly recommended. Chocolate Mousse Cube, Dulche de Leche, Salted Caramel Ice Cream and Pistachio Crisp. A must for any chocolate lover. Completing this indulgent delight with an Espresso Martini was heavenly end to a wonderful dinner.
A plate of prettiness that tasted even better than it looked, step forward Maple Syrup and Pecan Nut Charlotte Cheesecake with Amaretto Ice Cream in Wafer Basket and Butterscotch Sauce. Surprisingly light, the variety of textures and flavours at play here were joyful. Hats off to the pastry chef.
Post dinner drinks in front of the crackling log fire in the drawing room were far too tempting to pass up on before retiring for the night.
A visit to Bellinter House is a total escape from the hectic rush of everyday life. From the beautiful grounds to the incredible interiors but most of all it is the staff that make your stay here so wonderful. Irish hospitality at its finest. A stay in Bellinter House is one we can recommend with ease.
WRITTEN BY KEITH MAHON & OLIVIA BYRNE