Friday, July 13, 2018

Day One

This is my son at the K Club in Kildare Ireland, 30 mins east of Dublin in the quaint village of Straffan. . This is where we stayed for 3 nights. For those that have read my blog from the very beginning you will know why I had to visit Ireland.  I wanted to see Ireland in its full glory, not just Dublin so I created the trip to explore three distinct areas of Ireland so I can see how the food and country varied.  
Here is my wife and daughter from the back side of the K Club.  This manor hotel is stunning.  The grounds are like a mini Versailles, the staff are so warm and welcoming and rooms are large and elegant. The food as you will see did not disappoint.
We were absolutely shattered when we arrived mid morning.  We were hungry but they were still serving breakfast, and we had already eaten breakfast on the plane over.  So we found a quiet sitting room/drawing room off the main foyer and parked ourselves there.  Within minutes the four of us faded off.  I awoke as a couple came into the room to have a meeting with the catering director for their wedding.  My wife's mouth was agape with drool pouring from it and my daughter was snoring a storm up.  My son was dead to the world.  I nudged them all to wake up.  We looked a sight.  I was embarrassed but oh well.  They were very nice and didn't seem flummoxed by us.  But we decided it best to leave them to their business. So by this time lunch service had begun and we sat down in an other quaint Victorian room where they served a light lunch. I had an open face Irish Smoked Salmon Sandwich with Capers and Red Onion on Irish Soda Bread and a Horseradish and Irish Butter Spread.  My wife nibbled on a local Chicken and Watercress Sandwich.  The kids noshed on this below:  Clotted Cream, Strawberry Preserves and the best damn scones I have ever had in my life!!!!

Let me tell you how simply prepared it was, but yet the ingredients were of such high quality they burst with flavor.  The presentation was spot on, not pretentious but graceful.  I wish I could get something so simple and tasty here in Dallas. Unfortunately we are surrounded by fast food restaurants and we are in too big of a hurry to relax and enjoy some simple but refined food.

As we finished lunch we were given our room key.  What a relief as we could barely keep our eyes open.  We decided to take a nap and relax for a few hours.  After awaking from our midday slumber we walked around the beautiful K Club grounds.  They have a great golf course where the Ryder Cup was played years back.  The weather was brilliant, 75 degrees and sunny. They were calling it a heat wave.  Six weeks had passed without rain, unheard of for Ireland.  After a good brisk walk across the fairy and leprechaun looking grounds we got back to our rooms and got dressed for dinner. Rule of thumb for Europe: They dress up far more for a nice dinner than we do in the states.                                       

I am going to let you on a little bit of a spoiler, but heck you'll get over it.  Though this restaurant is without a Michelin star, it was the best of the trip. The Byerley Turk restaurant in the K Club, named after a famous racing horse was amazing.  We were seated on their patio on a stunning evening sunset over looking the nicest grounds one could imagine.  Above are some of the food we ate at the restaurant. Irish Sea Prawns in garlic butter melted in the mouth.  The Irish Fillet of Beef with Bordelaise was grass fed.  It was much different the grass fed we have here in the states.  It was less gamey and more subtle of flavor.  I preferred much more than the beef here in the states.  The pork done three ways was a stunner.  It came with basically a caramelized chicharon bark.  Umm so good.  The pork belly was sweet and luscious with a great flavor from the fat.  The loin of pork was juicy.  I was told it was sous vide and the pan seared. (FYI sous vide is the way to go with meat.) Invest in the Joule.  The desserts were straight out of heaven.  My wife had a Kerry Cream Rice Pudding with Vanilla and raspberry coulis. I shared a warm chocolate tart with a quenelle of chocolate hazelnut mousse.  First rate!  My daughter said it was the best dessert she had eaten.  Despite all the food just described the star of the show was the potatoes, Irish potatoes.  They just taste different.  They had a real pleasant minerally taste.  Then you add the amazing Irish butter and you could just dine on that all night! Rest assured this will be a recurring theme.

Overall the food was flawlessly executed, flavorful, provocative while the service was warm and sublime and not pretentious.  French technique, modern gastronomy, old world charm, and Irish ingredients made the perfect recipe for the evening.  It was a magical first day.