Staycations are the only real holiday option for most of us at the moment. However, while we may be disappointed on the weather front, staycations allow us the opportunity to discover many of the hidden treasures Ireland has to offer, and a prime example of this is Tulfarris Hotel and Golf Resort in Co. Wicklow.
Nestled amongst the lush scenery of West Wicklow, Tulfarris offers something for everyone – a golf outing, girlie weekend, a break with the children or a romantic getaway.
Nowadays, the first thing that everyone wants to know before they visit a location is how well does the establishment adhere to Covid 19 guidelines. You needn’t worry at Tulfarris. All guidelines are met ,with plenty of sanitisers and notices visible. The staff wear the correct headgear and the Reception area has the correct barriers in place. The rooms now have disposable coffee cups and the restaurants have paper menus and packets of salt and pepper. It is definitely comforting to know that management and staff are proactive in keeping everyone safe.
We were fortunate enough to enjoy a Suite for the night which had a delightful balcony overlooking the 18th hole – perfect for that special occasion. But the highlight of the visit for us was our evening meal. Little did we know that we were in for one of the most interesting and flavoursome meals that we have enjoyed for quite some time.
We started with a delicious amuse-bouche of cauliflower foam with black pudding and roasted onion pieces. The flavour was really really good and I would happily have chosen this as a starter.
The starters ranged from soup to duck confit and they all sounded very tempting, making it very difficult for us to choose. The first starter we decided upon was grilled Kilmore Quay mackerel served with fennel, yogurt, fennel pollen, samphire and orange. The combination of flavours, blended with the fresh Irish mackerel, worked really well and it was delicious.
The second starter we chose was Connemara air-dried lamb with cauliflower, vintage cheddar, Hon Shimeji and capers. The lamb and the cheddar packed a punch while the brown beech mushrooms (Hon Shimeji) brought an alternative texture and taste to the dish. We just loved it.
Onto the mains, and on the recommendation of the Chef, I chose the 12-hour pot roasted feather blade of Irish beef. It was served with celeriac, onion, watercress, carrot and port jus. This was melt in the mouth Irish beef and the port jus was beyond good. Mr Dillon chose the steak and I chose not to be insulted when he announced that it was the best sirloin steak he had eaten in quite some time (considering I have been cooking steaks for him almost weekly over the past few months, the evening could have gone downhill fast). I had to agree with him. This was the perfect crispy on the outside, tender on the inside steak and was served with shallot and mushrooms confit, peppercorn sauce and rustic cut skin-on fries. Both main dishes were accompanied with a selection of vegetables and Dauphinoise potatoes and the wine we chose was a 2016 rioja which hit just the right notes. What I particularly liked was the extra servings of the port jus and the peppercorn sauce. You can never have enough sauce!
Decision making got no easier when it came to desserts. With a peach melba and a crème brulée in the running, the final choices made were foraged meadowsweet and vanilla panna cotta and the cheeseboard.
We chose wisely with the Irish cheeses served with grapes, celery, walnuts, chutney and cheese biscuits.
The panna cotta was served with blackberry sorbet (magnificent), seasonal berries, caramel pear, woodruff and edible flowers and I will admit to not wanting to share this dish – but I reluctantly did.
The arrival of petit fours with our tea and coffee were the proverbial icing on the cake.
In even better news, this menu costs €31 for two courses and €37 for three courses. So, if you live nearby, I urge you to try this menu.
After a great night’s sleep, we enjoyed our Full Irish Breakfast while watching a deer wander near the fairways.
With great reluctance, we checked out – our visit had been thoroughly enjoyable. The staff at Tulfarris, under the guidance of new GM Darren Byrne, are doing a super job. The food was excellent and, last but not least, watching the early morning mist hover over the lake at Tulfarris was truly a sight to behold.
We will definitely be visiting again soon. You should too…..
WRITTEN BY FIONA DILLON