On Saturday past, we made our way to the idyllic seaside village of Culdaff, on the Inishowen peninsula of Donegal to check out the famed Mc Grorys Hotel and their Autumn inspired five course tasting menu.
The drive from Letterkenny to Culdaff took us exactly one hour, although it certainly didn’t feel that long with some of the most spectacular scenery in the Country. The weather was fantastic on Saturday too, letting us see right over to the other side of Lough Foyle.
We arrived at the hotel just before 7pm. The hotel reception was full of great atmosphere, with people gathering to be seated for the harvest dinner, an open fire blazing in the middle of the room and a gorgeously laid out drinks reception with sparkling wine and Guinness for the taking.
After making our way through the reception area we were greeted by a lovely receptionist who even knew our names (very nice touch) and were shown to a lovely, modern, clean and spacious room on the first floor. Luckily we were already dressed for the event so it was just a matter of leaving our bags and joining everyone else in the reception area.
We picked up our glass of bubbles and made our way to our table. The room was beautifully dressed by Annette Hughes from ‘Look Crafty’ in Craigavon. Before long Head Chef at Mc Grorys, Mr Gaz Mc Peake came on stage and welcomed everyone, talked through the menu and spoke passionately about Inishowan produce and all the fabulous food producers in the region. Mc Grorys are very supportive of local producers and try to use as much local produce as possible.
The meal itself was a tantalizing feast for the taste buds. We began with a spiced pumpkin soup made from ‘Ballyholey Farm’ vegetables. This was truly delicious.
Second course consisted of a Chicken Liver Terrine, made with locally sourced chicken from ‘Noones Poultry’, a superb product from Clonmany.
We were then presented with course number three, which was Organic Turf Smoked Salmon, from ‘The Haven Smokehouse’ in Carraigart. This is an example of a hugely successful Donegal food product, with ‘The Haven Smokehouse’ salmon being found in exclusive restaurants all over the country. If you could only have smelled this dish! Served with ‘Long Meadow’ apple salad, it was truly devine!
Course number four was Dry Aged Veal from local butcher, William Doherty at ‘Dohertys Meats’ in Clonmany. This dish was so tender, it just melted in your mouth. The veal was served with Copanata Jus, Potatoes and ‘Ballyholey Farm’ Vegetables.
Last but not least came course number five. An absolutely heavenly Strawberry and Elderflower, Panna Cotta.
We then enjoyed tea and coffee, with some exquisite homemade fudge from ‘Mc Grorys’ own kitchen.
There was no shortage of wine throughout the evening. We were continuously topped up with an interesting white wine choice, in the line of Gruner Veltliner. Grüner Veltliner is a dry white wine that grows almost only in Austria. With flavors of green pepper and lime, Grüner Veltliner is an exotic alternative to Sauvignon Blanc.
While the evenings red of choice was a Cote du Rhone. Cote du Rhone reds, are blends made usually from three different grape varieties. They are predominantly Grenache followed by Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsault and Carignan. The red wines can be fruity, sweet, spicy and packed with ripe, red berries and are very drinkable.
This was a truly enjoyable evening, with great food, cosy surroundings and fantastic music from Anne Rudolf and Band. General Manager, Suzanne Mc Feely and Head Chef, Gaz Mc Peake done a truly amazing job, hosting the evening, we are truly looking forward to our next visit already.