Sitting comfortably on 360 acres of countryside, the five star Druids Glen offers guests a sanctuary of Irish hospitality, away from the stresses of everyday life. Overlooking the Wicklow Mountains the views are spectacular, and the newly refurbished Garden Rooms & Bar takes full advantage of the surrounding woodland.
Druids Glen has a little something for everyone. For golf aficionados there are two championship golf courses, for serenity seekers, there is a spa and health club, and for foodies, there is a variety of delicious dining options; AA Rosette awarded Hugo’s Restaurant, the Garden Rooms and Bar along with the Sycamore Lounge.
Today we were partaking in the lovely and luxurious ritual of afternoon tea. Having just bid farewell to the winter, the menu has been tweaked to reflect the spring season and is full of rhubarb – a favourite of my guest. All bases are covered at this afternoon tea; coeliacs and vegetarians are well catered for, as are the little ones, with a children’s afternoon tea available for €14.00.
Your typical afternoon tea features a three-tiered stand; one tier of savoury sandwiches, another tier of sweet pastries and lastly scones to top it all off. At Druids Glen it’s a little different. To begin you are served your choice of tea or coffee, and a beautiful plate of savoury treats is produced. You won’t find the usual finger sandwiches at this five-star establishment.
To start we enjoyed a silky smooth Chicken Liver Parfait. Served with red onion chutney, which balanced the rich parfait perfectly, and crisp sticks of brioche toast. A favourite of my dining companion was the Warm Smoked Haddock Tartlet, a mini bite of lightly smoked fish and a buttery pastry.
The Cucumber and Goats Cheese Roulade on sourdough was a nod to the classic afternoon tea sandwich but with the addition of smooth and flavourful goats cheese. The last snack was House Pastrami served with horseradish and encased in a perfectly formed choux bun.
Now it was time for the main event, a three-tiered stand full of pink hued desserts was placed on our table. The bottom section housed warm scones and carrot cake, carefully wrapped in a crisp white linen cloth to keep them warm. The scones were some of the best my companion had tried (and she is a woman who knows her scones!).
A trio of preserves accompanied our scones, clotted cream, raspberry jam and lemon curd – the latter, I have decided, should be served at all afternoon teas. Zesty and tart, I smothered my scones in this yellow delight and topped it off with lashings of thick clotted cream…heaven!
We didn’t know where to begin with the desserts as everything looked so appetising. Served in a mini glass jar the Rhubarb and Custard Trifle was a gorgeous sight, complete with edible flowers and homemade rhubarb leather it was a million miles away from the boozy trifles I endured at my Grandmothers house many years ago. The star of the show was the Rhubarb Parfait with ginger snap. The light and sweet parfait was good enough to eat alone, yet paired with the crunch of ginger snap and topped with compote, it was worthy of its own plate.
My friend fell in love with the Raspberry and White Chocolate Eclair. Reminiscent of pastries you would expect to find in a Parisian patisserie this sweet treat was quickly devoured. The last piece of indulgence came in the form of a Raspberry Mille Feuille. Topped with a fresh raspberry, thin and well-baked puff pastry was layered with vibrant raspberry jelly, a contemporary twist on a beloved classic.
If somehow you manage to restrain yourself from eating all the culinary delights on offer Druids Glen will package up your remaining treats, allowing you to take a little bit of luxury home with you. I am a firm fan of afternoon tea and always will be. There’s just something I love about making everyday rituals of tea and sandwiches into something to be savoured and enjoyed, and that’s exactly what Druids Glen does.
Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion, like the birthday girl on the table next to ours, or just spending some quality time with friends, like myself, the staff make you feel right at home whilst making your visit a decadent affair. Druids Glen Rhubarb Afternoon Tea costs €32.00 per person. If you fancy making your tea even more special you can add a glass of Prosecco or Champagne.
Druids Glen Resort,
Newtown Mount Kennedy,
T: +353 1 287 0800
REVIEW BY SINÉAD SMYTH