The other day while I was in Kinsale meeting Piluca and her newborn littl boy, Dianne called me if I wanted to catch up with her. As we were both kind of middle away from Innishannon, we decided to give Innishannon House Hotel a try. They have recently launched the new bar menu and it was a wonderful day to see the gardens as well.
The hotel calls itself the most romantic hotel in Ireland - depends really but I have to admit it got an old-fashioned charm to it. The bar lounge (and the rest of the hotel) has a kind of shabby chic to it. I loved sitting in the lounge waiting for Dianne and her lovely daughter. The reception is small and the restaurant to the left of the reception was busy with a party that might even have been a wedding (the kiddies running around were nicely dressed).
A recent addition is the new back bar which is kind of a miss rather than a hit as it is completely different from the rest of the hotel. It might have worked with a designer who actually considered the old fashioned charm of the rest of the hotel. It looks more like a sports bar in Dublin than a lovely hotel bar of the 'most romantic' hotel.
Anyhow, Dianne and her daughter came and we sat down in the 'old' bar lounge for the bar menu (as far as I understood, they don't use the restaurant for formal dining anymore but only for weddings etc).
The veggie options of the menu were as boring as they always are in hotels (what is wrong with chefs - we are people you know) so I opted for oven baked cod with mash, grilled cherry tomatoes and watercress pesto (€14). The pesto was lovely - not too peppery, the fish cooked nicely and the cherry tomatoes were not over-grilled but nice and juicy. The mash was solala - nothing to write home about.
Dianne had the slow roasted belly of pork (€12.50) which came with mash, whiskey sauce and very sad looking selection of vegetables. The belly was quite fatty and dried (not really evenly cooked) but the sauce was lovely.
The girl (and I am so sorry I don't know how to spell her name - she is just a lovely girl) ordered the burger which came with caramelised onions, chips (not fresh cut chips but from the variety of the freezer) and a fresh leaf salad (€13.50). The poor girl was starving and it didn't help that the service was very slow.
For desserts I had a apple tart tatin which was oversweet and came with a ready-made fruit coulis. The 'girl' opted for a chocolate roulade which looked quite dry and judging from the face - nothing to write home about either. Desserts were at €6.50 each. An Irish farmhouse cheese plate was on the menu but when we asked what cheeses were included we were told that this has been taken off the menu ages ago. Also, the website has outdated menus.
The food knowledge of the staff was quite limited - when we asked if the pork belly was nice, we were told 'Yes'. The menu itself is basic but I think it caters for a different clientele than me and Dianne. It would be a place where I would bring my nan to have a nice Sunday afternoon.
What really makes this hotel special are the gardens and the lake. Just enjoy the photos. We spent more time than we wanted because the day was lovely, the view amazing and the company was just perfect.