My overnight stay at Neven Maguire’s MacNean House, Cavan
I recently got the opportunity to have an overnight stay at Neven Maguire’s MacNean House and taste some of his wonderful food at his award-winning restaurant
I have heard so much about the fabulous food served at his restaurant I was excited to try it out for myself.
Getting a booking
Getting a booking is hard at MacNean House. We contacted MacNean house in May looking for an overnight stay with dinner. We were advised the earliest date available for a weekend booking was March 2019!! However, you do have the option of going on their cancellation list where they will contact you if space becomes available. When we got the call about availability on a Friday night we were so excited to finally be going. We were given lots of notice about the cancellation (approximately 5 weeks) so we were able to organise our trip there.
I had never been to Blacklion before, it is a small village right on the border to Northern Ireland. In fact, the border is just over a bridge about 200 meters from MacNean House. The centerpiece of the town is MacNean house where Neven Maguire has his restaurant and cookery school. There are no ATM’s in the town so bring cash with you if you plan on leaving a tip. The trip to MacNean house is approximately 2 hours drive from Dublin.
When we arrived at MacNean House we were welcomed at the door by staff and directed us to the check-in reception. A staff member showed us to our room and we were given fresh milk for a cup of tea. We were also given the option of having a glass of Champagne before dinner or in our room. We opted to have it in our room with the lovely fresh strawberries and Madeleine’s that they left in our room to eat. Our booking for dinner was at 9.30pm and we were advised to come down to the MacNean House bar from around 8.30pm onwards as we might get seated earlier.
The room was spacious and well decorated. As we entered the room, Lyric FM was playing on a radio. This added to the relaxation and ambiance of the accommodation.
When we arrived at the bar we ordered drinks and were presented with a mixture of nuts with some pate on the side. This was delicious and a great start to our taster menu. we were also given the menu to look at while we waited.
They have two menus. One Signature Tasting Menu and a Vegetarian Menu. If there is something you don’t like on the menu you have chosen, you can swap it for another option on either menu. Or order was taken and we were brought into the dining room to start our dinner.
We began with a celeriac and apple Veloute with smoked chicken sausage. This was followed by a choice of rabbit or ham hock. For the fish course, there was a choice of scallops or sea-trout. I opted for a vegetarian option of goats cheese instead. For the main course, there was a choice of dry aged beef, duck or halibut
I am pleased to say there are three dessert courses on the menu, I got this lovely mousse followed by a delicious chocolate fondant
For the third dessert course, we had in the bar which consisted of chocolates and jelly sweets.
What I thought of the meal
The whole meal was delicious, by far the best meal I have ever had. We opted to also have the wine selection with the meal. Every glass of wine was chosen to enhance the flavours of the dish. The sommelier had extensive knowledge of the wines, which all tasted lovely. The only part of the meal I didn’t like was the dessert wine. This was more because I am not a fan of sweet wine and not a reflection on the wine itself. If you are planning on going there for dinner I recommend getting the wine selection as well.
I wasn’t expecting Neven to be there himself as he had a cookery course earlier that day and was due to attend Donegal food festival the following day. However, Neven was there on the night and he made a point to talk to everyone who dined at the restaurant.
All the staff were friendly and knew when to offer assistance and when to give their guests space to enjoy the experience.
The breakfast the following morning was also a treat. There was an array of fresh bread, pastries, and yogurt. There was a number of options on the menu for breakfast including, porridge, full Irish breakfast scrambled eggs and more.