Lucinda O’Sullivan Review
Lucinda O’Sullivan Review
The following is an article written about Carrig Country House by renowned Food Critic Lucinda O’Sullivan for the Sunday Independent Newspaper.
Where did Arthur Rose Vincent choose to live with his second wife (who was French) after he and his American father-in-law gave the wonderful Muckross House and Estate at Killarney to the Irish State? Where else but Carrig House at Caragh Lake, a mere three miles or so from Killorglin, which was opened this summer as a country house and restaurant by the urbane Frank Slattery and his wife Mary.
This lovely Victorian house is set in enchanted gardens and you are overwhelmed on arrival by stunning views of the lake and the mountain backdrop. We found all this joy purely by accident!
We arrived in Killorglin without any dinner reservations and called down to the Bianconi to find that they were full in the dining room, but a very pleasant girl behind the bar told us about Carrig House.
After a short run out the road we were greeted with open arms by Mr Slattery and in a flash he had us relaxing in the delightful drawing room with aperitifs and menus. The dining room is elegant and leisurely with large bay windows over the gardens to the lake, decorated with a William Morris “Lemons” wallpaper creating a Victorian conservatory feel, white linen napery, glistening glasses, big country house vases of flowers and stripped floorboards all so peaceful and serene.
My beloved had warm salad of smoked duckling served with cognac and walnut dressing, more than ample slices of the duck on a bed of greenery with strawberries, apple, cucumber, yellow peppers, carrot ribbons and grapes. I had the fresh lobster bisque flamed in cognac and served with a cassoulet of local seafood. This was creamy gentle bisque with glorious big chewy prawns, mussels and scallops.
To follow, breast of barbary duckling for me, which was pan-fried in fresh herbs served in peaches and cassis jus. He had the rack of spring Irish Lamb with a port and raspberry glaze, cooked to pink perfection. Vegetables served by the waitresses from big dishes were mangetout, celery sprinkled with thyme, carrots, creamy gratin potatoes and boiled potatoes. It is all good country house cooking and I can tell you, you won’t be hungry. We happily quaffed a bottle of Di Martino Prima Merlot Reserve 1994.
All sorts of goodies prevailed on the dessert menu. Caragh Make escargot (filled with cognac, chocolate praline and with a home-made parfait glacé) tartlet of peach with chocolate sauce and the like but as they say, enough is as good as a feast. I blinked for a minute as I saw who I thought was Michael Winner in the corner scoffing a chocolate pudding but it was a gentle man of the cloth who was a dead ringer!
All the tables were full and more people were in the drawing room having drinks when we finished but tere was no air of any undue haste. People were laughing, relaxing and enjoying themselves. The way it should be – no fuss, hustle or bustle.
We reluctantly tore ourselves away and as we went out the gates through the magical gardens my beloved actually broke into verse ” I come from haunts of coot and horn I make a sudden sally”.
A captivating and glorious spot.