We recently had the pleasure of dining at The Enclosure in Maynooth’s Glenroyal Hotel. With Executive Head Chef Bernard McGuane at the helm, we were treated to a tasting menu that was simply outstanding. No words, no pictures can do justice to the range and depth of flavours that we experienced. What I loved immediately about this tasting menu was that all the dishes we enjoyed are currently on the a la carte menu. So, my advice before I go any further is to go make a booking (and you can thank me later!).
With Covid-19 still foremost in our minds, all precautions have been taken to ensure a safe dining experience. We were led by the most wonderful Maître D to a booth which guaranteed a quiet and safe dining experience. And so, the experience began..
While we ordered drinks, we happily dipped bread in olive oil and balsamic vinegar – as this is one of our favourite things, we were hooked.
First up was Hamachi tataki, ponzu avocado, roast red pepper and pickled shallots. The paper-thin slices of baby tuna were divine and the tataki sauce was so good that we asked for spoons to savour every last drop! This taste of Japan was just too good to leave the tiniest morsel behind.
The next dish served was blowtorch scallop, cauliflower purée, yuzu, almonds and red caviar. The scallop was perfectly cooked with the yuzu adding a citrus zing, combine the purée and the caviar and you have a flavour combination that is superb. If we had been in any doubt about Chef Bernard’s passion for flavour, it ended right there and then.
Pork belly cooked for twelve hours was next to the table with the Japanese influence coming right to the fore again. This time by adding tare, toasted peanuts and pickled shimeji mushrooms. Delightful.
When we thought it couldn’t get any better, the Cote de Boeuf arrived served with a marrow butter and truffle jus. And this is where I almost run out of descriptive words, so suffice to say, I am organizing a return visit with my family for as soon as possible. But the words flavoursome, wholesome, creative, authentic and artistic would not go amiss on any of these dishes.
And there’s more… The sides. Please do not visit The Enclosure without asking for the colcannon mash topped with a scallion mousse. It is simply sublime. Of course, if creamy mash is not your thing, the skinny fries with rosemary are pretty epic too. Then there’s the charred broccoli with umami sauce and parmesan, and if you can manage them, the pickled red onion rings are pretty spectacular too.
And what evening would be complete without a scrumptious toffee fondant with ice cream and chocolate sauce to accompany your cup of tea? Blissful!
But if Oriental influences are not your thing, or if you would like a really great heartwarming dinner on a cold evening, this menu has you covered. You can enjoy a 9oz sirloin steak cooked over coals and served with red onion rings and mash or fries for €30. The starters we enjoyed ranged from €10 to €14 and all the sides are €5. And if none of the above take your fancy, there’s always the lamb pot, fillet of sea bream in a tempura batter or pan-roasted duck to name but a few.
Chef Bernard and all the team at The Enclosure work seamlessly to provide diners with a truly delightful experience. If you haven’t been, I urge you to go, and I can’t wait to return very very soon.
The Enclosure at Arkle
The Glenroyal Hotel
WRITTEN BY FIONA DILLON