The Cliff House Hotel, Ardmore, Co.Waterford

Cliff House 1

“I think we tip the guy who carried our bags….wait, where did he go?” So started our Saturday at The Cliff House. One of the side effects of graduating in a recession is a 20s of arrested development. Internships, temporary jobs, study, temporary homes, student houses with mice as unadvertised housemates and a general inability to be a proper grown-up. My generation seem to suffer a serious case of impostor syndrome when it comes to adulthood.Which is inconvenient when you find yourself in a place as distinctly grown up and sophisticated as this.

Bedroom

As someone who only recently made the leap from Hostelworld to Airbnb, staying in a luxury boutique hotel is a bit of a change of pace. I’m not entirely accustomed to places where they trust you with slippers and a bathrobe. But there were joint birthdays to be celebrated, one of them a big one (fortunately not mine, not quite yet) and a grown up weekend was in order.The Cliff House hotel is also home to a Michelin starred restaurant, which was the main draw for the stay. Martijn Kajuiter was previously head chef of my favourite Amsterdam restaurant, De Kas and I was dying to see what was on offer in Ardmore. He recently released a beautiful but stunningly intimidating cookbook with lists of ingredients coming close to 100 and diagrams to explain how to plate the food. It really is don’t try this at home stuff.
We started off with a walk around the eponymous cliff, conveniently located just beside the hotel, and followed it up with an outdoor jacuzzi overlooking the sea. The other draw for the hotel is the amazing view. Every room in the hotel looks out over Ardmore Bay with floor to ceiling windows. We rounded off with a drink on the hotel terrace, which also overlooks the seaweed baths, leading the two ladies below us to have a less than private spa experience.
Cliff Walk

We booked a late dinner to take full advantage of the hotel, and may have had a bit of (Lidl) champagne which does not contribute to the best of recollections of the meal. I also used my cameraphone so the photos are fairly pants. The amuse bouche bore quite a resemblance to that in The Greenhouse, featuring a beetroot macaron with goats cheese, beetroot marshmallows covered in tiny bacon fragments and an asparagus panna cotta. The highlight, odd as it sounds, was an amazing baby potato baked in clay topped with a delicate mayonnaise.  This was followed by a scallop starter, with three huge  scallops pan fried with seaweed and served with “textures of celeriac” and a spinach jelly. This was accompanied with a ceviche of scallop with Dutch salad (more of a mayonnaise then a salad)  and Irish herring caviar.

Cliff House

 

My main was a delicious stuffed rose veal with sweetbreads and bluefoot mushrooms. This was followed by an interesting carrot sorbet. It has to be noted here that the portions are far more substantial than you’d expect for a Michelin restaurant, and we were both very full by the time it came to dessert. I opted for what turned out to be an incredibly generous cheeseboard, complete with six Dutch, French and Irish cheeses, dehydrated grapes, all manner of lovely homemade crackers, and a really fresh tangy salad. Himself went for an incredible berry and white chocolate panna cotta. This was absolutely Michelin worthy cooking, exciting, different, but with just enough touch of comfort to feel really luxurious.

Cliff Restaurant

All this was washed down with some very unusual but lovely wine pairings served by an exceptionally young but very knowleadgable sommelier. Our dishes were served with wines from Greece and Morocco, along with some more traditional regions. Saturday being a busy night, we were seated in the private dining room, which I have to say did not have the same appeal as the main room, and I’d definitely request that going back. The next day, we were seated there with the Sunday papers for a gorgeous breakfast of fresh pastries, fruit salad and a traditional Irish fry-up which helped prepare us for the journey back to reality.

The Cliff House Hotel, Ardmore, Co Waterford

 

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5 thoughts on “The Cliff House Hotel, Ardmore, Co.Waterford

  1. Was interested to see what you thought! I loved the hotel but found it pretty pricey. The restaurant was closed the night we stayed so we had the bar restaurant food that evening and while it was decent it was jut a tad too expensive for what it was. Fabulous setting though!

    • The restaurant is actually pretty good value in comparison. 100 for a three course Michelin meal with wine pairing is good value, but I can see how the bar food is a bit overpriced.

  2. Those potatoes are indeed fantastic, loved the squid ink mayonnaise too. The quality of the cooking is outstanding, there was a rose veal dish that was just ludicrously good; food-wise, it’s probably second only to The Greenhouse imo. Although have to say, the service was all over the place, not Michelin standard at all, which when you’re charging those sort of prices I take as a given.

    • I had actually forgotten that, our service wasn’t great either. They were absolutely lovely, but it was 1 hr 45 between when we sat down and when we got our main. I still loved the experience overall, but slow service only really annoys me when I’m in a rush I suppose

      • Yeah, there were long periods where we were just ignored and at one point I was nearly finished my dish before I was given my matching wine; also, despite ringing ahead to warn them and saying it on the night that my wife was 7 months pregnant, she was still served two dishes with raw fish that she couldn’t eat. Although funnily enough she was glad of it in the end because we were doing the tasting menu and, as you said, you are given a hell of a lot of food, she wouldn’t have had room for it all!

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