Written by: Luis | Photography by: Sarah
It’s always been a dream of mine to be able to dine like a king. With our upcoming trip to Ireland, I knew that there were many castles in the area and was determined to experience a royal feast first hand. Enter Cedar Grill Restaurant at Lough Eske Castle, the answer to my castle-dining dreams. As I sat down in our cloth dining chamber, I was ready – I had just finished a hike at Sleeve League and my stomach was prepared for the upcoming feast.
Cedar Grill proved that Irish food is more than simple stews and potatoes. Our meal started off with a chicken tart that closely resembled a miniature version of a chicken pot pie. The filling was rich and had an aroma of fresh thyme. Even better was the flakey crust – the true champ of any tart.
As we were finishing our tiny appetizer we received a basket of warm, fresh bread. But remember, we’re in a castle – so it can’t be as simple as a basket of bread delivered to your table. Not only were we served several types of bread (regular, wheat, basil and pesto, and bacon) with softened butter and Irish Sea salt, but we were also delighted to find that the bread was kept warm by heated stones that the bread sat upon. This detail set the standard for the remainder of the meal.
The next dish was a vibrant salmon, which was caught off of the Donegal coast. Served with cucumber and a lively hibiscus sauce. The salmon had rich notes of the delicious Irish butter, and the cucumber provided a crisp freshness to the dish.
Next, came the highlight of the evening; a beautiful two pound t-bone steak (bone in of course!) served table side. Our maître de carved the tender cuts of meat and served them with a mushroom sauce that had hints of red wine, tarragon and other herbs.
Alongside came the fresh spring vegetables and salad with feta cheese & horseradish dressing. The steak was a juicy medium rare and had a beautiful char. This char not only helped with texture of the meat itself, but it also made some of the fattier parts of the steak melt in your mouth (some people don’t enjoy this part, but to me this is where most of the flavor is!).
After enjoying what the local coastline and high hills of Ireland had to offer, we went for a sweet treat. Our final degustation at the castle was simply titled the “chocolate ball”. This intrigued us since we thought of a few possibilities that could be presented. Would it be a literal ball of chocolate, like a bon-bon, or a chocolate cake simply shaped like a ball?
Well, it was neither. At first glance, it looked like a simple chocolate ball, but as our maître drizzled hot chocolate on top of the ball, we realized that this dessert was much more elegant than we expected. Inside the chocolate ball an assortment of surprises were revealed, blasting our pallet with rich dark flavors.
Truly an elegant dessert that was worth enjoying at the conclusion of our meal. We munched on our refined dessert and took sips of our elaborately made cocktails, and of course, a few pints of the local favorite; Guinness. We could not have asked for a more professional staff and will enjoy coming back to the castle the next chance we get.
We were guests of Cedar Grill, however the opinions are our own. To learn more visit solishotels.com/lougheskecastle/dining/donegal-dining.