You cannot understate the importance of Viewmount House to the Irish Midlands.
In creating one of the most significant modern destination restaurants, chef Gary O’Hanlon and owners Beryl and James Kearney have done an inestimable service. They have done it by offering superb hospitality, and great modern Irish cooking, in a great country house and restaurant.
Mr O’Hanlon’s menus in VM Restaurant read straight-ahead, but the vivid complexity of his cooking means the ingredients are raised to stellar heights: sirloin with Crozier Blue gratin; turbot with Bordelaise sauce and cavolo nero; venison with prune and beetroot purée. These graceful touches are rife throughout Mr O’Hanlon’s dishes: his signature anise and orange-cured Thornhill duck confit; the Clogherhead prawns with mango mayonnaise; the vodka-cured organic salmon with yuzu vinaigrette. The result is one of the happiest – and busiest – dining rooms in the country. Mrs Kearney’s team of staff are as good as it gets, charming and hard-working young folk who know their way around every aspect of the food game.
To get the best of VM, you really should also stay the night at Viewmount. Mr Kearney’s patient, studious hunts through the auction rooms of Ireland makes for a house where every aspect of furnishing in the public and private rooms is apposite, appropriate, and understated. And their Boxty Benedict for breakfast is one of the nicest, and most original, things you can eat for breakfast anywhere in Ireland.
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