Lisloughrey Lodge, Cong, County Mayo
Cong, County Mayo, Ireland
Telephone : +353 94 954 5400
If coming to Ireland this summer, or if already on the island and planning, like us, a ‘stay cation’, then by all means slot Lisloughrey Lodge into your planner for a few nights away.
A few weeks ago, I was contacted by Lisloughrey Lodge and they invited us down to their first of their ‘Gourmet Getaway‘ celebration dinners. This invitation came hot on the heels of our book launch and let me tell you, the chef & I were well and truly ready for a night off. So we happily accepted the invite and threw the overnight bag into the car and headed due north.
Lisloughrey Lodge is only forty five minutes from our home in Galway so we barely had time to unwind before we reached our destination.
Upon arrival we were greeted warmly and given a quick tour of the important places like our bedroom and the bar.
It was very difficult deciding where to spend the afternoon . . .
but in the end we settled in for the warmth of the fireplace and the chilled beverages on offer to us.
We had made prior arrangements with the staff to meet with the Chef, Jonathan Keane, before the great gourmet event took place, and we had plenty of time to chat with him about his menu for the evening and his style and culinary preferences. A native of Kylemore, Connemara, Jonathans eagerness in explaining his menu concept for the evening was obvious. He likes to keep it simple by sticking to a few easy guidelines like using foods in season, buying locally produced goods, and adhering to traditional Irish cooking methods with imaginative ideas. The Chef & I were delighted to hear he was not using any foam on the plate. Just good wholesome food he promised, and that he certainly delivered .
Chef Keane is huge fan of the MASS Lamb (Mayo Atlantic Sea Spray) and whetted our appetites with a sampling of his coca-cola marinated and slow roasted Lamb just out of the oven. We were polite and tasted it … every last bite was devoured.
After holding him hostage in the kitchen for longer than was necessary, we were able to snap a few photos of the food and dining room before the guests started to trickle in for the evening.
We headed back to our room for a few hours of calm and quiet where we both took a nice long, and very needed, nap.
Waking up in a very comfy bed, in a strange place, with no noisy kids around makes me very calm. The Chef, who is always calm, took note of how relaxed I was having only been separated from the kids for a few hours. A nice long swim in the tub, followed by a ‘take as long as you need to get ready’ hour of pampering myself, we were well and truly ready for the great gourmet getaway.
We headed straight for the bar where we were greeted by the happiest team of service staff I have ever encountered. I am not sure what their secret is at Lisloughrey Lodge, because it is impossible to keep ‘everyone’ happy, but this team of employees were just the nicest I have met. They were all smiling and having the craic. Even the Chef noted they were eager to please and serve, but also made time to chat and have a bit of fun with the customers. This reminded me of how service in Ireland was when I was growing up; when I trained in the industry. It was fun and we were fabulous. That is why tourists loved coming to Ireland. It was ‘us’ that ensured they had a good time. The really nice thing about this experience, is that while a few of the crew were from the surround, many were not even from Ireland. Yet they all behaved like one big happy family and kept smiling. Well done – everyone of you.
After a few pre-dinner drinks, we headed upstairs to the restaurant and mingled with a few of the other guests before we were welcomed by local and famous artisan butcher Sean Kelly, of Kellys in Newport, and also by the Chef’s former school teacher Leo Hallisey. Both lectured us on the importance of encouraging people to eat what is readily available to in ones own locale. Both men spoke so passionately about their product, and their plea to spread the word did not fall on deaf ears as the room erupted into a responding Bualadh bos (a round of applause) before the first course, of seven, arrived to the table.
From then on . . . it was the start of a food coma. There were several courses to please the palate and I noticed on a few occasions that diners were catered to with very individual (dietary) requests.
I honestly did not think that this would be my cup of tea. I like my oatmeal for breakfast. The idea of eating ‘porridge for supper’ washed images through my mind of gruel-like gloopy soup. I had decided that I was just going to eat the shell fish and that’d be it for me. I LOVE when I am wrong. I was WAY wrong on this one. It was like a delicious creamy risotto-like-chowder. The shellfish were neither smothered or covered, just lightly steamed to opening perfection. I cannot get over how versatile the old bowl of porridge really is and might just inundate you all with new and fabulous recipes now (that the chef is working on!) using oatmeal for supper sustenance.
There was not a bite or bone left on the plate after this one either. I looked around the room to see if everyone was enjoying their meat course and their was only a silent hum of happy food noises floating about.
The wine list was also a pure delight to peruse. We had a half bottle of Dr. Loosen (2005) Riesling (this was on our restaurant wine list at Rondo’s when we lived in the US) - a bargain at €12.00 – and later had a bottle of Chateuneuf du Pape for a respectable €31.00. Again, with the stellar and attentive-but-never-overbearing service, our glasses were never empty.
We wrapped up the evening at a respectable hour and woke early as could be the next morning because the sun was blinding us with the glare off of Lough Corrib right outside out window. We made the most of the few child-free hours we had left, and enjoyed a walk down by the lake and then a nice ice cold refreshment before we headed back to the Saturday market in Galway for our weekly shopping excursion.
The Chef & I were guests of Lisloughrey Lodge. If you have read all our other reviews, you will know that this is not ‘what we do’ but in this particular situation we decided to accept the lovely gift because they offered a bonus ‘gift’ I could not refuse.
Great Gourmet Getaway GIVEAWAY for TWO at Lisloughrey Lodge
The general manager has given us a night away for two of our lucky readers to attend their next gourmet event on Thursday July 26th, 2012.
So you see, lovely readers, I was doing this for you!
On a side note, and this is important, there were a few small things that we felt needed addressing and we gave the team at Lisloughrey Lodge our ‘Wise Review’ and they received it very well and have assured us they will be making the necessary tweaks before the next event. So really, the lucky winner will be acting on our behalf, eating, drinking and soaking it all in and then reporting back to me the following week on your findings. If you fancy a chance to be featured on our WiseWords blog to give us your personal review of your night away at Lisloughrey Lodge – then what are you waiting for!
To enter the competition leave a comment right here telling us the location of Lisloughrey Lodge. As with all the giveaways we run here at WiseWords, you must be signed up via email to be eligible to win and you can double your chances if you pop over and ‘like’ the Lisloughrey Facebook page. Unfortunately, this competition is only open to residents who live on the Island of Ireland. You must be able to travel to Lisloughrey Lodge for Thursday July 26th 2012 and the prize is non-transferrable. The winner will be chosen randomly (via ‘And the Winner is‘ )on Sunday July 15th giving you plenty of time to make plans.
(This prize is worth close to €400 and is not to be sneezed at. Please keep in mind that transportation and alcohol purchases are not included)
For a few more photos from our stay at Lisloughrey lodge click right here.
Those are all the WiseWords I have for today,
OH – and and and … if you have not been able to read our weekly column in The Sunday Times you can find it right here and if you have yet to run out and buy a copy of our book then you can get your hands on a copy of that tight here at Kenny’s Book shop!
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I am a native Galway girl that seems to be drawn to professions that rhyme with 'err'. Writer, Mother, Restauranteur, Wedding Planner, Dishwasher, Grass cutter, Cocktail maker. I suppose you could say I am a well rounded entrepreneur.
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About the Chef
You can't find the Chef here.
You might as well just come visit.
He prefers face to face communication.
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SHE WRITES, HE COOKS, THE KIDS MAKE A HUGE MESS