We are avid fans of Clontarf and regularly make the trip out to Bull Island after work on days when we have been based in Dublin. There is something so peaceful and calming about the sea air and Clontarf as a whole is such a charming place. An overnight stay in Clontarf Castle Hotel has been on our list for quite some time. Having visited many times but never stayed over, this was an overnight escape we were ready to treat ourselves to.
Checking in on a balmy Friday afternoon, from the moment we parked the car we could feel ourselves unwinding. Entering the magnificent medieval inspired lobby, the grandeur of the exquisite chandelier, the Knight in Shining Armour and monumentally high ceilings ensure that the full ambiance of castle life has been captured.
After a smooth check in we made our way to our deluxe double bedroom, located on the second floor giving us a birds-eye view of the decorative lobby below.
The room itself was immacualtey clean with individually packaged antibacterial wipes placed thoughtfully throughout. All Covid policies and procedures were in place and being followed by all the visor clad staff.
A luxurious king size bed, super size flat screen TV and a small seating area completed our room which came in very handy when we opted to have Breakfast in our room the following morning.
The bathroom was beautifully designed with a large walk in rain shower and that all important ring light for the selfie lovers among us!
The grounds are so peaceful and so beautifully planted. Lots of seating dotted throughout ideal for taking a break from those romantic strolls.
The medieval theme is as much in abundance throughout Fahrenheit Restaurant as it is in the rest of the Hotel. Stunning stained glass windows, exposed wooden beams and romantic candlelight ensure you experience the ambiance one expects from castle dining. Even the butter was served beneath a mini cloche!
Again all Covid procedures are to the fore here with ample space between diners and staff wearing visors at all times.
Head Chef Paul Devoy has devised a concise but considered menu. We would have happily indulged in any of the dishes on offer. Starting with Magret of Duck €13.00. This beautifully presented starter composed of two delicately cooked slices of duck breast, a deliciously crisp Spiced Duck Leg Pastilla served with a combination of charred corn salsa, chickpeas and pickled pink ginger, all forming a delicious fusion of flavours.
For our second starter we chose Seared Scallops €14.00. Three succulent scallops served on mini mounds of wild boar black pudding encompassing a mild herb like sweetness courtesy of ribbons of kohlrabi and salsa verde.
We enjoyed a bottle of Walnut Block, Sauvinon Blanc €39.95. The palate is extremely lively and well fruited with a juicy mouthfeel and a really fresh crisp dry finish.
Our wine was a particularly great match with the Stone Bass €30. The bass was served with perfectly crisp skin, the flesh tender but with a meaty bite. Perched on a gorgeous summer vegetable risotto and topped with lots of savoury, salty goodness in the form of clams, anchovies and seaweed.
Our next main, 6oz Hereford Beef Fillet €33.00 had a tasty seal which kept the fillet juicy and flavoursome. Served with two awesome little Ox tail croquettes, these little additions were really delicious. French bean ragout and mushroom ketchup completed this meat feast.
Our first dessert of Blueberry Panna Cotta €11.00. Lightly set and courageously holding its form. A generous scoop of blueberry ice cream and chocolate soil on the side completed the plate with sweet summer freshness.
The Salted Caramel Cheesecake €11.00 came highly recommended from our lovely waitress for the evening. Toothsome toffee popcorn adding a great layer of texture to the creamy cheesecake and smooth toffee sauce. A solid recommendation indeed. A thoroughly enjoyable end to a superb dining experience.
For a touch of medieval magic, we highly recommend a stay in Clontarf Castle Hotel. This is a unique, boutique hotel in a really great location, an ideal base for exploring Dublin.
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Clontarf Castle Hotel,
T: +353 1 8332321
Review By Keith Mahon & Olivia Byrne