Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Overnight stay & Michelin-starred meal: Mount Juliet


Disclaimer: this is an independent review, we paid for our stay and meal at Mount Juliet.

Ireland is an expensive country to visit, especially when it comes to accommodation and dining out. For this reason, I'm guilty of having mostly travelled overseas and never seeing much of the island. That said, in recent years, Mr FFID and I have been a little bit better and treated ourselves to the odd staycation.

Mount Juliet in Thomastown Co. Kilkenny was on my bucket list for a long time. Not only because the property looked lavish from what I saw online but also because of its restaurant, The Lady Helen, one of Ireland's Michelin-starred restaurants.

Last January, I booked one of their 'Taste of Mount Juliet' packages to fight the new year's blues and we stayed there for one night back in March. It's far from being cheap but the €350 package was a good option, including a night in the Manor House, a seven-course tasting menu at The Lady Helen with a glass of prosecco and breakfast the next morning. There are two options at Mount Juliet, you can either stay in one of the 32 bedrooms located in the Georgian Manor House or one of the rooms at the modern Hunter's Yard. Obviously, I went for the first option to get the full experience of staying in an 18th-century manor.


The room was spacious and comfortable and had a small sitting area in the corner as well as a desk. We were there for less than 24 hours and unfortunately, the weather was pretty bad so we didn't do much apart from enjoying the cosiness of the hotel, walking a little bit around the estate in the drizzling rain as well as eating and drinking (this is what we do best after all). However, there are a few other things you can do such as golfing, horse riding, falconry, archery or just getting pampered in the health club.


The Major's Bar was a lovely place to enjoy some pre-dinner drinks by the fireplace on a dreary day before heading off to dinner at Lady Helen. The dimly lit elegant dining room of the Lady Helen is perfect for a special occasion or romantic dinner. I'm not going to review every single item of the seven-course tasting menu because it was long ago and the menu changes according to the season, but let's just say that it's a proper fine dining experience.


Highlights included dishes such as a champagne sabayon and scallop starter, crubeen croquette with sauce gribiche, cod with celeriac with chive beurre blanc and sea vegetables and venison with parsnip, beetroot and apple. Their elegant interpretation of tiramisu was a particular winner and their petit-four game was very strong. Every single dish delivered in terms of flavours, mixing French techniques with a combination of great Irish and non-Irish ingredients.

Service was impeccable, very attentive and professional without being intrusive. The dinner experience at Lady Helen exceeded my expectations and was definitely one of my favourite Michelin-starred experiences in Ireland so far (I still have a few to tick of my list though...).

While our stay was speedy it was just the right spot for a little injection of opulence and great for a couple getaway. A pity about the weather but sure, you don't pay that much money to enjoy the outdoors anyway.

Mount Juliet
Co. Kilkenny
Mount Juliet's website