The Cellar Restaurant, The Merrion Hotel, Dublin , Ireland [ Review by UggGirl ]

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Dining' started by uggboy, Sep 1, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. uggboy
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    The Cellar Restaurant, The Merrion Hotel, Dublin , Ireland:)

    After returning from a weekend in Belfast, Northern Ireland, we wanted to stretch our good experience a little bit further and were looking for a fine dining option. Our mind settled on the Cellar Restaurant at the Merrion Hotel. The Merrion incorporates a number of Georgian Townhouses and a new wing. It is a hotel since 1997. We have visited different outlets of the hotel before, including the two bars Number 23 and the Cellar Bar and The Drawing Room, serving afternoon tea and light snacks.

    The Cellar Bar and Restaurant have a street entrance. We thought we could use it, but it was closed. Even though the main entrance to the hotel is on one end and the Cellar Bar and Restaurant are at the other end of a row of town houses, there is no direct connection between them. Not knowing the way, we asked first the concierge for directions, then the female bartender of Number 23, I could remember both members of staff from previous visits.

    We had to pass the Drawing Room and use the covered walkway between the old wing and the new wing. We made a quick stop at the fantastic garden of the Merrion. It has changed over the years from an Asian design to a more Irish garden. There is a statue of James Joyce, a famous son of Dublin, in the middle. We also love the water feature.

    At the new wing we had to take the elevator to the basement and from there follow the signs to the restaurant. It wasn't easy, but once you know the way it's no problem at all.

    At the restaurant we were warmly welcomed by a waiter and asked for our name and room number. We hadn't reserved or didn't stay at the Merrion. Thank goodness it wasn't a problem and within seconds we were brought to our table. The waiter offered to take our jackets, but we were okay with keeping them. He also presented us with the a la carte and special menu and the wine list.

    I had a look around. The walls were white washed and had high ceilings. The table cloths were also white, while the comfortable chairs brought in some color splashes in green and orange. At the same time we were asked, if we maybe wanted to have a bottle of still or sparkling water to start with. We don't like sparkling water especially, so there was no question of what to take.

    While we studied the a la carte menu, we had a brief discussion, if we wanted wine or a cocktail or both. Drinking generally not much alcohol, we decided it was either going to be a glass of wine or a cocktail. We asked for the cocktail menu and it was promptly delivered. To our surprise it came from Number 23. We expected the cocktails would come from the Cellar Bar. We found out later the Cellar Bar wasn't open.

    When we were ready, the attentive waiter took our order. The water had arrived earlier. It was served in an old fashioned glass bottle. When I studied the label, it stated the water was sourced and received UV and other treatments on the premises, so it could be served to patrons. There was no charge to the bill.

    Soon after we had ordered, we received bread and butter. It was baked in house, fresh and tasted really good.

    We were busy discussing the weekend, service standards and other things until the starters arrived. Corn Pancakes filled with leeks and cheese for him and Mackerel with gooseberry salad for me. My mackerels were an art work on a plate. The taste was excellent, too. The flavors were ranging from sour and salty to pungent and sweet. I tried EW's starter as well. The pancakes had good flavor and were very light.

    After we had finished our starters, the waiter asked, if we wanted to keep the bread or if he could take it away. We wanted to keep it.

    While waiting for our main courses, we spoke about the food and the interior design, Leading Hotels of the World, where the hotel is a member and hotels in general. Before we knew the fillet steak and cod arrived. Again the presentation was colorful. My fish melted in the mouth, and I loved the sundried tomatoes and green beans. His steak was excellent, too.

    After that we still had space for a dessert. He had the exotic fruit soufflé, I the Mango Passion fruit Jelly. We were happy with our choices and enjoyed an Irish Coffee Cocktail and a French 75 with them. We didn't realize we spent nearly three hours at the Cellar Restaurant. It was time and money (The bill came in at 129.50 Euro / ca. 190 USD, excluding tip) well spent. The food was excellent, and the waiters were friendly and unobstructive. Just what I expect of a fine dining experience.

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