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Restaurant Review - Valentine's Getaways

Restaurant Review - Valentine's Getaways

Tuesday 14 February 2017

Tuesday next is Valentine’s Day and, if you haven’t got yourself already sorted, it’s time 
to get a move on! Being midweek, some people
 may want to celebrate it at the weekend when they can relax and make a break, but whatever you decide, here are 12 great romantic places around the country.

Pearl Brasserie
It may feel like being in the heart of Paris, but Sebastien Masi and Kirsten Batt’s utter gem is in the heart of Georgian Dublin. Bag a fab romantic booth and treat your loved one to pan-fried duck foie gras with apple and cinnamon compote, toasted brioche, almond gel and balsamic caviar — with a glass of Monbazillac to wash it down — and that’s only for starters! It won’t fail to impress.

In a windowless basement beneath Drury Street car park, is one of the hottest tickets in town. With a retro 1950s Soho vibe, tuxedo-attired waiters, brown leather booths, and a Campari bar; share libido stimulating oysters and Bistecca Fiorentina before taking a selfie with the luscious dessert trolley!

Hang Dai
Take a ‘trip’ on the Shanghai underground, complete with overhead illuminated advertising and grab bars for alighting. On the hip Camden Street drag, it’s exciting and fun with a late bar and DJs. Great cocktails including a Hang Dai of Bulleit Bourbon, yuzu and green tea. Nibble Typhoon Shelter soft shell crab and follow up with duck roasted in an applewood-fired oven.

There’s a distinct Vietnamese ambiance in this Wexford Street venue. Sip a cocktail and peek through the bamboo plants in the exotic garden, as the open kitchen produces delicious Vietnamese/Thai food. Chow down on Mekong Duck and Shaking Beef.

La Reserve
There’s nothing like that je ne sais quoi French vibe to imbue a romantic spirit, and Jerome Fernandes’ chic little La Reserve Brasserie, in the heart of the D6 Ranelagh Village, is just such a spot. Kick off with
a Kir Breton of artisan cider and cassis before indulging in a dozen escargots de Bourgogne, followed by magret de canard aux kumquats et pommes noisettes and chocolate tart. That should do the trick!

Aldridge Lodge
Right down near the coast, in Duncannon, Co Wexford, Billy Whitty and Joanne Harding serve splendid local seafood
 and the best of local meats to a legion of adoring fans. The four-course dinner at €40 may even include local lobster. Three bedrooms if you wish to overnight.

Munster Room at Waterford Castle
As if taking a little ferry across to Waterford Castle wasn’t romantic enough, the wood- panelled Munster Room restaurant here
is exquisite. Dine on galantine of rabbit and pheasant followed by venison. Three-course dinner is €60.

Pier 26
Take the romantic Cliff Walk in the East Cork village of Ballycotton and work up an appetite for the amazing seafood served
by Colin and Holly Hennessy in their delightful Pier 26, while enjoying glorious views of the fishing boats and Ballycotton Lighthouse. The food is cracking, the prices are right, and with seafood this fresh, the world is your oyster.

The Lake Room at Aghadoe
Overlooking the breathtaking Lakes of Killarney, as a pianist tickles the ivories on the grand piano, think of you and the light of your life dining on scallops with beluga lentils and saffron puree, followed by a duo of guinea fowl and chicken with Parmesan polenta cake. I did actually witness a besotted lover here drop to his knees and produce the diamond!

The Pullman at Glenlo Abbey
Book your ‘first class’ tickets for dinner in the stunning dining carriages which formed part
of the original Orient Express travelling Europe in the first half of the 20th century. Although you won’t leave Glenlo Abbey’s ‘station’ in Galway, you will be in for the trip of a lifetime with exquisite food and service. Two/three-course ‘ticket to ride’ €56/€63 ‘and she will care’! Stay the night — great brekkie.

Viewmount House
Can anything be more romantic than four-poster beds and celebrity chef Gary O’Hanlon’s amazing food? A glorious 17th century Longford manor house with an amazing cantilevered staircase. After a lavish four-course dinner and petit fours (€60), a stroll around the Japanese gardens will motivate the slowest suitor into a proposal!

The Olde Post Inn
Gearoid and Tara Lynch’s spot 
in Cloverhill, Co Cavan, is a total escape from the real world. Chill out in the conservatory with an aperitif before enjoying Gearoid’s delicious four-course dinner (€60). Try the bacon & cabbage terrine followed by Pekin duck with red cabbage and Cointreau jus. Bedrooms are delightful and romantic, and breakfast is top notch. Coeliac heaven. 

First Published In The Sunday Independent