A Revitalising Weekend of Rest & Relaxation – Farnham Estate Hotel & Restaurant Review
In today’s world, it seems we’re always on the go. Rushing around, buzzing to and fro, it seems we don’t stop and partake in a little self-care.So when I got the chance to indulge in a little R&R at Farnham Estate, you can be certain I ran, skipped and jumped at the chance.
While I love travelling, exploring new places and roaming around new city streets, sometimes what a girl needs is dinner, cocktails and a little spa time. My recent visit to Farmham Estate was just that, a relaxing stay that left me feeling refreshed and ready to head back to the big smoke.
Sitting on 1,300 acres of land Farnham Estate is an impressive sight, the drive up to the hotel alone felt like it took an age, but when the building comes into view it’s worth the journey. After checking in, we headed to our ground floor room, which had a patio overlooking the grounds; perfect for sipping a pre-dinner cocktail when the weather allows. Sitting on our beds were fluffy white robes and slippers; coming to Farnham Estate and not making use of the health spa and thermal suite is beyond a crime.
As the theme of my weekend was relaxation, I, of course, headed down to the health spa to treat myself to a little pampering. This serene space has 17 individual treatment rooms, designed by Heniz Schletterer, who also designed the spa at New York’s Waldorf Astoria. I made my way to the health spa for my ESPA massage treatment; a back, face and scalp massage, known encouragingly as the “Hero treatment”, that included a skin analysis and a personalised facial.
This 80-minute treatment was pure bliss. I don’t partake in a lot of “me time” back home and following a minor car accident a few years ago, have aches and pains in my back (I’m old now, aren’t I?). Taking 80 minutes out of your day to be completely self-indulgent isn’t something most of us do, but on special occasions, it is downright necessary. My spa therapist even advised me to get regular massages, and who am I to ignore the advice of a professional?
Although I could happily spend the rest of my day drifting throughout the health spa, alas hunger was calling. Following a quick touch up of lipstick and the flick of a curling wand, we headed down to dinner.
You have a choice of dining options at the hotel from an informal dinner in Maxwells Grill Rooms, a luxurious afternoon tea to a quiet drink in the Wine Goose Cellar bar. However, tonight we were dining in the 2AA Rosette awarded restaurant The Cedar Rooms. The stylish new restaurant has been beautifully converted from one of the estates old stone buildings.
Executive Head Chef Daniel Willimont has created a menu that not only reads well but follows through with flavour and is full of local provenance – Thornhill Duck, Sheelin Butcher’s Co, Corleggy Goats Cheese are just a few of the names that leap from the menu. Dinner is whoppingly good value too, guests can enjoy a five-course dinner for just €55.00 per person.
To start, I chose the Duck Leg Tortellini. This elegant looking dish was served with vanilla milk foam, black truffle shavings, smoked Gubbeen cheese, and black garlic. The pasta was rolled to the perfect thickness but I felt the cheese was a little overpowering, perhpas a little less would do the trick.
My companion chose the Poached and Charred Foie Gras. This rich dish came with peeled grapes, sultana puree, brioche, hazelnut crumb, and baby watercress. Warm brioche with silky smooth foie gras is always a winner in my book, and this was no exception.
Before our main course, a light and refreshing Raspberry Sorbet with orange blossom foam was served as a palate cleanser. A delightfully floral taster to keep our taste buds tantalised before our next dish.
For me, the Beef Wellington was calling my name. Made with buttery, flakey pastry and accompanied by rainbow carrots, smoked tempura shallots, chateau potato, baby spinach, and a rich sherry jus. As a girl who prefers her meat pink, when our waitress told me the pinkest they serve their wellington is medium, I was disappointed – had the meat been leaning more towards the rare side this would have been a completely top notch dish but it was pink enough for me to happily clear my plate.
The Fillet of Turbot was the next choice for mains. Perfectly cooked fish came with tender Black Angus beef cheek, shiitake mushroom, charred baby potato and Pinot Noir jus. The beef was melt in the mouth soft, and worked well with the fish.
Dessert was a tough call, with dishes like brown bread cake with bourbon chantilly cream and bergamot Earl Grey pannacotta. With increasingly full tummies, it was clear a shared dessert was in order.
We went all out and ordered a completely indulgent Single Origin Dark Chocolate Torte. Bright yellow caviar or orange was sprinkled on top, with a luscious tonka bean ice-cream. Yellow saffron sponge made the dish look pretty but for me, it would have been better without.
With desserts polished off we unwinded with tea and coffee, alongside well made petit fours – we even surprised ourselves that we somehow made room for these bite-sized sweets. After a nightcap in the Wine Goose Cellar we headed up to our beds for a blissful nights sleep.
The following morning we enjoyed a leisurely full Irish breakfast with all the trimmings, in Maxwells Grill Rooms, which had good options for vegetarians and coeliacs also. We left Farnham Estate feeling well rested, wishing we could stay just a little bit longer, and already looking forward to another visit to this stunning location.
T: + 353 49 4377700
REVIEW BY SINÉAD SMYTH