Generally when you mention top chefs in Cavan, Neven Maguire is at the tip of everyone’s tongue and rightly so. However there is another very unassuming Cavan man who has created something very special in his home county. Gearoid Lynch has earned his stripes in some seriously impressive kitchens such as the renowned Thornton’s and Le Coq Hardi and in 2002 himself and his wife Tara took on the adventurous task of renovating a building over 150 years old and creating what you will find there today, a stunning country retreat.
Unlike most of our reviews this one was quite unique as we were invited to sample a showcase dinner in The Olde Post Inn to highlight this year’s hugely successful Taste of Cavan. It takes a brave chef to fill a room with some of the country’s most well known food writers and showcase the best of his county. As surreal for us as it seemed we have to admire what Gearoid and his tight knit team have built here. To really experience what the Olde Post Inn is all about we would recommend booking in for the night.
One thing you can be guaranteed here is a home from home, as soon as you walk in the door you’re greeted with a warm smile and an even warmer cuppa. The building has a striking mix of old and new and the accommodation is all housed in the original part of the house, with picturesque window seats and tasteful decoration to reflect the surroundings. If you are looking for the perfect location to get lost in for a night and switch off from the outside this is it.
We were treated to a specially designed tasting menu with matching wines from Wines Direct. Each course created to showcase a different local producer. Beginning with a sparkling Carles Andreu Cava reception we were treated to a Chicken Caesar en croute, a perfect little bite to accompany the bubbles. Once seated in the private dining area Gearoid talked us through each course and left the rest up to the witty Owen Murphy from Wines Direct who gave us a detailed breakdown of the matching wines. First up was a fresh little Italian number; a Ciu Merlettaie Pecorino paired with a Beef Carpaccio, topped with a favourite of ours, broad bean and asparagus and dressed with peppery rocket and a delicious parmesan oil.
We had just featured Gearoid’s famous Bacon & Cabbage Terrine as a recipe a few weeks ago so we were more than eager to finally taste this traditional sounding dish. The McCarren’s bacon lived up to its’s praises, an impressive and seemless dish surrounded by a silky baby leek cream. White burgundy can often divide opinion but for us it’s our go to wine and we were quite surprised how well matched the sublime Domaine Nicolas Maillet Macon Villages was to the bacon. Make it a point to seek this wine out, it’s a stunning drop.
A perfectly timed palate cleanser arrived just in time, an Elderflower Sorbet, such a refreshing change to lemon or raspberry and locally sourced by Ethel Rudden from the nearby St. John’s church yard.
A clear winner with everyone in the room on the night was Felix Cropp’s Lamb, served in two ways; one a herb crusted medium rare loin with summer veg and a light mint jus and the second was an exquisite Pithiver, beautifully presented within a fluffy, melt in the mouth pastry. Throw in the big, bold Bordeaux flavours of the Chateau Sainte Marie Alios and you have a match made in heaven.
An “olde” but a goody dessert consisted of Rhubarb Trifle “Olde Post Inn Style “, complete with sugar coated shorty for dipping and creamy vanilla ice cream. A real triumph by pastry chef Brid Teevan. This was easily the most surprising pairing of the evening, as it is so rare you find a sparkling dessert wine on Irish menu’s but the Bera Moscato D’Asti sweetness was light enough not to overpower the dish. Topping off an already superb meal was a selection of chocolate honeycomb ‘petit fours’ to enjoy over the Moscato.
Having spent the night in the cosy surroundings of the Olde Post Inn and enjoying Cavan hospitality at it’s best we left the next morning feeling refreshed and excited that we had had the pleasure to experience some fine company and even finer food.
This is a Taste of Cavan we highly recommend.
The Olde Post Inn
T: +353 (0)47 55555