Cliff at Lyons in Celbridge, Co Kildare is one of those magical places that enamours you from the moment you pass through its picturesque entrance. Lush hedgerows line the driveway that leads you the car park which is situated adjacent to the water feature fronted reception room. Unlike most hotels, Cliff at Lyons is compiled of a multitude of individual cottages and stately rooms scattered around its magnificent manicured grounds. Thirty-eight bespoke rooms to be exact. With food offerings for all the family from onsite casual dining in Trellis Cafe, formal dining in The Orangery and in more recent times the much raved about, award winning Aimsir offering that elusive Michelin magic. A mini culinary mecca awaits you.
Check in was swift and we were happily making our way to our room. A room that we both agreed was that of dreams. A Queen Size four poster bed, large open fireplace, uninteruppted garden views and a roll top bath tub. Opulent soft furnishings and low, cosy lighting. This room was so immensely beautiful that we decided to enjoy it for as long as possible and order a couple of glasses of wine. As it happens, room service is not an option and to be honest as soon as I left the phone down I realised it should have been obvious with the rooms being scattered around the grounds.
Deciding that a little walk around the grounds would be a far better use of our time and invariably lead us to a bar, off we went. Curated gardens are full of rambling roses and whimsical wild flowers and foliage. The Lily Pond is spectacular and the tiny private Church situated there is one of the most idyllic places to spend some time with your thoughts.
That drink we had set out in search of was now firmly in sight. Speaking to a lovely couple on our way around the estate we were advised that The Lyons Den was the place to go. On we ambled in the direction of The Orangery. The Lions Den bar is located in the same building. Rich in design and overflowing with character. Deep buttoned, brown leather Chester sofas and an array of King Armchairs scream old world charm, the impossibly large open fireplace only adding further to that charm. A couple of perfectly prepared Old Fashioned’s in hand and no phone signal, idyllic.
The Orangery, just a short stroll from The Lyons Den Bar is a stunning stripped back, exposed stone wall, glass encapsulated haven. Seated opposite the brightly lit open kitchen was a treat in itself. Martijn Kajuiter and Nathan Dimond are leading the kitchen in The Orangery. Creating a menu of refined Irish Fare, this dynamic duo are very much in touch with their customers needs and expectations and strive diligently to deliver on this.
Bread and Butter, one of life’s underrated pleasures. Fresh crusty slices, with creamy salty butter, we always intend on just one slice each and to date that has never actually happened! Carefully choosing from the concise but clever menu we decided on Clougherhead Crab, Beetroot, Grapefruit, Timur Pepper €15.00 and Irish Chorizo, Sourdough Toast, Oyster Mushrooms, Bone Marrow Butter €14.00. That unmistakeable, delicate flavour of the crab meat, a deep earthiness for the beetroot were married expertly with citrus burst of grapefruit and timur pepper. This is a dish with powerful zest surging through it, really enjoyable.
Our second starter was such a winner for us. Warm, crusty sourdough toast smothered in bone marrow butter. Irish Chorizo that was , in our opinion far tastier than its Spanish sister, far smoother and more natural of taste. Coupled with oyster mushrooms that had been sautéed and piled high on this delectable dish.
The moment we spotted the Dunvillaun Beg Glazed Lamb Shoulder For Two, Mash, Garden Beans, Rosemary Jus €62.00 on the menu we just wanted it. It had been a really long time since we had a share dish as we usually try to explore as much of the menu on offer as possible but this sounded so appetising and when we spotted it being delivered to some fellow diners we could not pass up our opportunity to try it. Not one single regret was had. The lamb arrived in a warm skillet overflowing with green and broad beans and the most beautifully scented rosemary jus. This was meat that had been lovingly reared and expertly prepared. The tender, juicy flesh fell apart, a knife was not needed, just a forks for shredding. There was probably enough lamb for three good appetites as even we struggled to finish all of the meat. A side of creamy mash and of course not ones to ever have the willpower to resist extra sides we also ordered a side of Bacon & Cabbage, again, no regrets.
Our desserts of choice were Organic Chocolate 68% Cliff 10, Chocolate Tuille, Zepher Ice-Cream, Madeline €11.50 and Strawberry Bombe, Strawberry, Guava Sorbet, Shortbread €11.00. As is evident from the photos, these creations were little works of art. Such detail in both the aesthetic and flavour design. The Chocolate was so deeply delicious, and the little madelines proved perfect for dipping. Strawberry Bombe packed that powerful sweetness that you would expect but in a very light manner. These really are two desserts of opposites but one equally as moreish as the other.
Wine pairing is available with this menu for €30.00 per person but we spotted a red that we liked the sound of and opted for a bottle instead.
Full on food sedation set in and bed was beckoning. The walk back to our room, even more beautiful at night. The grounds resplendant in the twinkling night lights.
Unfortunately, we can’t tell you what breakfast was like as being the big kids that we are we took two of the complimentary bicycles and headed for a long cycle down by the canal. We arrived into the restaurant at 10.38 to be advised that breakfast finished at 10.30am and that we could not be seated. Not delighted with this news after working up an appetite on our cycle but in hindsight it was our own fault, we should have timed it better and made sure we were in before the cut off. It is worth noting that when we checked in we were not offered a dinner reservation or advised of breakfast times. These are both things we should all endeavour to find out for ourselves but usually it is a given. Our dinner reservation was sorted with a simple phone call from our room and we have learned our lesson to always check breakfast time going forward.
We absolutely adored our stay in Cliff at Lyons and the couple of things that didn’t exactly flow will not prevent us from planning a return visit. We use the word escape quite often but this truly is a place that you can escape to. Cocooned in natural beauty, our stay recharged and refreshed us and we absolutely recommend a stay in Cliff at Lyons.
Cliff at Lyons
+353 1 630 3500