An amalgamation of four individual Georgian Townhouses were seamlessly transformed to bring the very luxurious, Five Star Merrion Hotel to life. Located in the heart of Georgian Dublin, this glamorous icon sits proudly opposite Government Buildings. Purveyors of decadent Dublin hospitality, The Merrion Hotel is a nucleus of fine dining options. From the widely renowned 2 Michelin Star, Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud to the glorious comfort of the Garden Room Restaurant, The Cellar Bar and the intimate No.23 Cocktail Bar, there is a distinctly fabulous dining option for every occasion.
On arrival we were greeted very safely and efficiently by a visor clad concierge who relieved us of our luggage and announced our presence to reception. We happily handed over our car keys to avail of the luxury of valet parking. We were swiftly checked in with welcoming warmth. Individually packaged disposable face masks, antibacterial wipes and mini bottles of hand sanitiser were all available at reception and in our suite.
A room with political view! Our suite for the night, located in the main house was overlooking the Department of the Taoiseach. The interior decor is elegant and unobtrusive. Muted tones brought alive by scarlet accents in the soft furnishings.
Entering our suite we were greeted with a plush sitting room area, the perfect place to get cosy and watch a good movie or indulge in your latest read. Leading off of the sitting room, a king size bed clad in crisp white linen was more than inviting. A gorgeous marble bathroom suite complete with bathtub, walk in shower and all of the essential luxury toiletries.
A knock on the door turned out to be quite the sweet surprise when we were presented with a plate adorned with Pastry Chef Paul Kelly’s, interpretation of Ferrero Rocher. A long time friend of TheTaste.ie, Chef Paul has promised us he will share the recipe for these glorious creations with our readers.
Extracting ourselves from our suite we were enraptured by our glamorous surroundings and ready to take on an evening of fine dining in The Garden Room and a cocktail or two for good measure in No. 23.
Wandering down the glass walled corridor towards The Garden Room Restaurant we could hear the gentle hum of diners and the delicious scents wafting our way served to spike our appetite.
Executive Head Chef Ed Cooney and his team have curated a concise menu to accommodate the current dining times that are in place with a choice of four starers, four mains and four desserts along with the daily specials. Choices are well varied with options to suit all palates.
Once our order was placed we tucked into some delicious bread, after all, what is an evening of dining without the essentials of bread and wine! We began to ponder on the thought of ‘if only these walls could talk’. The Merrion Hotel has undoubtedly played host to some very famous faces, particularly of the political world.
Congratulating ourselves on selecting a stellar bottle for the evening we sipped merrily on our Château Puy-Blanquet, Saint Emilion Grand Cru 2011. This beautiful bottle oozes perfumed bright red fruits on the nose, on the palate there are evident notes of raspberry with an earthy, savoury character. Plump and rounded fruit balanced by an elegant, fresh acidity and well integrated tannins.
We started out the evening with Corn Fed Chicken and Pancetta Terrine with Pistachio, Chimichurri and Caramelised Onion Vinaigrette and Kataifi Prawns with Mango Salsa.
A vibrant slice of Corn Fed Chicken and Pancetta Terrine jewelled with Pistachio and accompanied by a helping of herbaceous Chimichurri was throughly enjoyed. A wonderfully sweet Caramelised Onion Vinaigrette brought thoughtful balance to this fantastic stater.
The second starter on our table was Kataifi Prawns with Mango Salsa. Three plump prawns swaddled in uber crisp kataifi pastry. We had one each and fought over the third. The addition of a piquant mango salsa brought a spirited burst of flavour to each bite.
After a fantastic start we were very much looking forward to the main event. We ordered the specials of the evening, Herbed Rack of Lamb with Peas and Broad Beans and Steamed Fillet of Plaice with Kale and a Cucumber Salsa.
The Lamb was exceptionally tender and the unique intensity of flavour synonomous with this indulgent meat accentuated even further by the buttery herb crust that acted almost as a shield to ensure a superb succulence.
Plaice is definitely a favourite of ours. Unfortunately it doesn’t make a regular appearance on menus so we are always excited to order it when the opportunity presents itself. The fillet of steamed Plaice had a tender, sweet, almost milky flesh. Again, as with the lamb the cooking here preserved all of the natural flavour and gorgeousness of the produce. With accompaniments symbolic of the angel and thedevil, the cucumber salsa injected a freshness whilst a seductive, velvety beurre blanc with chives brought delightful indulgence.
Once again, opting to order from the specials on offer for the evening we wholeheartedly followed the call of our ever present sweet tooth. An artful plate was presented with a warm Chocolate Fondant. This luxurious dessert caused audible oohs and ahhs as spoon for spoon we feverishly devoured this decadent classic. Candied walnuts that accompanied added a fantastic crunch.
Speaking of classics, our second dessert was Passionfruit Soufflé. Risen to perfection, this lucious creation floated like a cloud atop its ramekin dish. The featherlight consistency made this feel far less sinful than it actually is! An outstanding end to an amazing dinner.
We made our way to No. 23 Cocktail Bar for a cocktail before retiring for the evening. An expertly mixed Old Fashioned and an Espresso Martini brought our evening of opulence to a very happy end.
The overwhelming love for our suite saw us fill out the breakfast card and hang it on the door so that we could enjoy every possible minute of this glorious space. If breakfast to the room is not for you, you can simply book a time slot for breakfast in the spacious Garden Room Restaurant.
After a wonderfully restful sleep it was time to enjoy our final meal of our stay, and what a feast. To breakfast like a King is clearly the mantra of The Merrion. We ordered Eggs Royale and a Full Irish. What arrived was nothing short of exquisite. The freshly baked pastries alone were incredible. Flaky, buttery pastry, freshly baked bread, a beautiful fresh fruit plate and all the tea and coffee we could manage. What a time to be alive!
Leaving The Merrion Hotel was hard, very hard! Our visit was nothing short of magical from the time we pulled up outside to when we checked out. There is something so grand and all consuming about this very special Hotel that everyone should experience, at least once.
As the old saying goes… “its not a goodbye, its see you soon.”
WRITTEN BY KEITH MAHON & OLIVIA BYRNE