Review on Ashford Castle, George V Dining Room
Superlatives come thick and fast when considering the attributes of Ireland's grandest and most opulent castle. Built during the thirteenth century and surrounded by 350 acres of mature parkland, Ashford was once home to the Guinness family dynasty and opened its doors as an exclusive retreat in 1939. From the pristine grounds to the lavish public rooms, it lives and breathes wealth and good breeding.
The George V Dining Room is arguably the most desirable and intimate room in the entire castle. Delicate wood carvings and a spectacular handcrafted inglenook fireplace provide the architectural accompaniments to Stefan Matz's refined modern cuisine; diners can also enjoy glorious views of Lough Corrib during daylight hours as they await the lifting of silver domes.
Right from the outset the kitchen's intentions are clear. Judiciously chosen Irish ingredients provide the jumping-off point for feats of top-end gastronomic wizardry: a 'presentation' of pork appears with warm marinated potatoes and a compote of artichokes, while fillet of turbot is pan-fried with duck foie gras and a cream sauce of chestnut honey vinegar. Among the starters there might be char-grilled Donegal scallops with warm citrus fruit jam, while desserts are marvels of intricacy such as flamed coffee parfait with star anise meringue and chocolate biscuit. More than a dozen Irish cheeses grace the stunning trolley and the wine list is a model of old-school refinement.
In the grounds of the castle is Cullen's at The Cottage, which is run as a separate restaurant in its own right (under the culinary supervision of Stefan Matz).
Restaurant Opening Times
Dinner: 7.00 - 9.30pm Thu-Sun (May-Sept)
Accepted credit cards
Visa, Master Card, American Express