ARDMORE, Co Waterford, ROI,
Almost as if sculpted into the cliff face, Cliff House has been in situ since the 1930s, but a revamp saw it reopen in 2008 as the luxe hotel we see today. There are pampering opportunities aplenty, swanky bedrooms with terraces overlooking Ardmore Bay, and, when it comes to dining, a restaurant that reaches for the stars. The kitchen is led by Martijn Kajuiter, a Dutchman with an evident passion for Irish ingredients and who has embraced contemporary cooking techniques. Expect excellent presentation and some creative ideas. Take a starter of West coast lobster and chicken, for example, which has three distinct elements that combine to create a highly impressive whole - poached chicken wrapped in nori, lobster served on a warm stone with lobster jelly, and a stunning lobster 'Bloody Mary'. Follow that with a dish based around McGrath's Suffolk lamb that has as much going on as the first course, or go for wild halibut landed locally, served as loin and a nifty pie, plus a black olive crumb and saffron jus. Among desserts, peaches get a workout with one such fruit poached in red wine alongside a smooth sorbet, pieces of jelly, and some delightfully chewy semi-dried shards. There's a tasting menu as you might expect, while the impressive wine list - check out the glass-walled wine cellar - includes a range of sakes and bottled beers.
Tel: 024 87800
Please quote 'The AA'.
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Days closed: Sun-Mon (occasional Tue)
Dates closed: Xmas
Days closed for lunch: all week
Cooking type: Modern Irish
Chef: Martijn Kajuiter, Stephen Hayes
Number of seats: 64
Accessible for wheelchairs.
Vegetarian meals available.
N25 to Ardmore. Hotel at the end of village via The Middle Road
Nearest station: Cork