It is no secret that I am a foodie. Before my weightloss journey, during and forever after. I just love anything to do with food. I love cookery shows, cook books, photographs on Instagram and celebrity chefs. One of my all-time favourite things is eating out. Being handed food and not having to clean up afterwards is one of life’s greatest joys.
As much as I love eating out, I wouldn’t be a fine dining kind of girl. Years ago I visited Thorntons for lunch and it just wasn’t for me. A lot of foams, reductions & pretty displays but not a whole lot of food. Sorry Kevin but I just love a decent plate of grub. To be fair now I was only eighteen years of age and had absolutely no place in a Michelin starred restaurant. It was a present for someone I was trying to impress. I didn’t regret the experience but as a young adult I totally considered a Big Mac afterwards.
These days I probably have a deeper appreciation for different kinds of food experiences. While I’m still not a huge enthusiast of fine dining I have been been completely intrigued by Neven Maguire’s Macnean house for years. I’ve followed Neven for years. I’ve enjoyed his cookery shows and enjoyed reading and learning from his recipes. He comes across as a lovely down to earth person too. When I first heard about Macnean House I never imagined I would be frequenting it at any point in my life. For a few reasons really. Firstly, it’s a pricy experience and not something you can just do on a whim. Secondly, said whim is impossible because there is actually a two year waiting list.
A good friend has been several times and every time we meet up the topic of food and restaurants comes up (told you, I am obsessed). She has been to Macnean House several times and raves about it. It just sounded amazing. She recommended (if I ever got a reservation) staying overnight and availing of the breakfast too as it’s as good as the meal itself. From that point on it became a little pipedream of mine. I knew it was something I would love to try but I wasn’t 100% sure if it would appeal to my husband. Like me he isn’t a massive fan of fine dining. We love trying new places though and he too is a foodie. I was extremely lucky to get a cancellation reservation (so did the lovely Corrina from Stone Travel and Cherry Sue. Here what she has to say about her experience of Macnean House here). I took a leap of faith and booked it as a birthday gift to my husband. It was a lot more than I planned on spending but I justified it because only 50% of it was for him really. It also meant a night away which we both really needed after a hectic couple of months as I started my own Slimming World business. Luckily, he was delighted with the gift and we set off on 27th May for a Saturday night at Macnean House.
From the moment we arrived at the restaurant and guest house we were extremely impressed. Because it’s a restaurant I didn’t expect the accomodation to be so nice. I expected something quite basic but in reality the room was really gorgeous. The decor was beautiful and it was spotlessly clean. A lovely gentleman brought us to our room and showed us a little container which contained ” freshly baked madeleines”. Such a lovely touch. He informed us that we could pop in to the bar a little early ahead of our dinner reservation for canapes too.
I wanted to feel the part at Macnean House. I was going to buy a new dress but then I remembered that a family friend had given me this dress. It still had the tags on and it suited the ocassion perfectly. It was amazing to slip on a size 10 dress and I had a bit of an ah-ha moment that night. A non scale vistory or something. I realized how far I’ve come and how different I feel in clothes since I’ve lost 4.5 stone. I felt really great and my lovely husband looked a million dollars too.
When we entered the bar, about an hour before out 9.30pm reservation (we chose that as we like to eat late. There was a 5.30pm one also), we immediately saw Neven. I couldn’t not say hello. Thankfully he was super approachable and friendly. He posed for a photo with us, couldn’t believe we had gotten married on Don’t Tell The Bride and even gifted us with a signed copy of one of his cookbooks. He sent over two glasses of pink bubbles and some lovely canaes. Curried popcorn and some kind of Macaron with a Salmon mousse inside. It was a lovely way to start the experience.
We made our way in to the restaurant and I was delighted with our seat. It was nicely tucked away but I had a great view of everyone else. I loved watching people’s reactions to their food. I found it so exciting. The atmosphere was just brilliant. An assortment of bread and dips arrived and they were out of this world. One of the breads was a kind of Brioche which had actual bacon pieces threaded through it. We knew we were about to experience something amazing. A somelier pottered around offering advice on wine selections too. It was really fabulous.
As for the food, I wouldn’t begin to even try describe the courses. Every single thing we ate was insanely good though. The beef, the salmon, the Pork Belly, the pea and mint soup, the amouse bouche, the chocolate dessert which was a sight to behold (you can see the video on my Instagram). It was just amazing. Each thing nicer than the last.
After the food we made out way to the bar for a cocktail and after a very comfortable night’s sleep we entered the restaurant again but this time for breakfast. Three different people (on Snapchat) had told me to order the Porridge and who am I to argue. I am SO glad that I did because it was such a treat. The creamiest dreamiest bowl of oats flavoured with Irish Mist and served with a little pot of honey and jug of cream. We both ordered it as our starter (yes you get a starter with your breakfast here) and it was incredible. I have never and probably never will taste oats like this. It was served in such a beautiful manner too. Aside from the breakfast to-order there was a huge selection of breads, juices and various yoghurt/fruit/granola combinations in beautiful glasses. The bircher muesli was stunning.
We checked out at 12 noon and settled up the bill. The grand total was €392 including our drinks from the bar. A huge bill for one night but Macnean House was so much more than a meal and a pillow to lay our heads on. It was a life experience and was worth every single penney. The eight course tasting men was €85 per head and the accomodation was €75 per person. We racked up a very acceptable €70 in the bar on top of this. It was completely worth it.
If you are looking for a seriously special treat for a wedding anniversary or birthday for example I couldn’t recommend Macnean House enough. Every single table displayed joy for the entire evening. Or if you just want a seriously amazing culinary experience and night away with your other half, friend or family member. It is so worth saving up for and absolutely “feeds” you something that is beyond the incredible food placed before you.
You might be waiting a great deal of time for a booking or perhaps you’ll be lucky enough to get a cancellation appointment. Either way Neven Maguire’s Macnean House will not disappoint. What an experience.