Sitting proud and statuesque in Ireland’s Sunny South East is Marlfield House, just outside Gorey, Co.Wexford. A member of Ireland’s Blue Books, it boasts over forty acres of woodlands, gardens, and lakes for guests to explore, before taking shelter in the luxurious interiors of the hotel.
Wexford is a second home to me, with my family visiting this vibrant county for more than thirty years. On a recent visit to our holiday home, I decided to treat myself and my mam to dinner in the Duck Terrace Restaurant.
The restaurant is housed in beautifully restored courtyard buildings on the grounds of the hotel. With the cooler winter nights in full effect, we relished in the warmth of the Duck’s dining room. Exposed brick walls, soft lighting, and candles made the restaurant an inviting space.
The menu features sharing boards, or “beaky bits” as they are so called; seafood and antipasti boards that would suit as a shared starter, or as a snack over a bottle of wine.
Our choices for starters that evening included Ragout of Sauté Mushroom and Confit Duck (€12.00) and Bruschetta of Roasted Pumpkin (€11.00). The former came “en croute”, a perfectly sized portion of tender duck sat on bread, which perhaps could be a little crisper to add some more texture to the dish.
A small scattering of hazelnuts and moreish mushrooms paired well with the duck, and a balsamic glaze added a contrasting sharpness.
A large portion of roasted pumpkin sat across the table. A colourful dish garnished generously with salty feta. Sweet roasted red onion and earthy baby beets livened up this veggie dish. The zatar yoghurt dressing was a delicious addition to the plate.
Mains of the evening were Roasted Magret Duck Breast (€32.00) and Slow Cooked Wexford Lamb Shank (€26.00). The latter was the perfect Winter’s dish, a hearty bowl of vegetable cassoulet topped with local lamb shank.
The meat fell off the bone at the slightest touch, and the rich creamy sauce was simply divine with carrots, celery and beans adding flavour to the dish.
The magret duck was perfectly cooked, with a rose pink centre, but by far the star of the dish was the celeriac and pearl barley risotto. A heavenly mixture that still had an al dente bite. I could happily eat a bowl of this risotto as a stand-alone dish, and I greedily scooped up any morsels left on my mother’s plate.
The desserts at the Duck Terrace are comfort food at its best; warm creamy rice puddings, chocolate brownies and crumbles along with a coffee affogato that will add a spring to your step. Nothing terribly exciting in culinary terms, but with tasty options none the less.
Stretching ourselves we powered on and ordered dessert; the Mucky Duck Brownie (€8.00) and Pear and Almond Frangipane Tart (€8.00). An indulgent salted caramel ice-cream came with the brownie, which I would have preferred to have bene a little gooier in the centre but mixed with the ice-cream was a luscious dish.
The pear and almond tart was a lovely way to end the meal on a sweet note without being too heavy. Perfectly moist and full of almond flavour.
Following our meal, we took our wine over to the bar area and relaxed a while before hitting the road. It was all too tempting to stay in the cosy bar and linger over a bottle of red wine while taking shelther from the weather outside.
Our meal at the Duck Terrace was exactly what the doctor ordered on a cold and chilly evening; hearty dishes, good wine and exceptional service from staff. In total for dinner with a bottle of wine for two, the bill came to €131.00.
T: 053 942 1124
REVIEW BY SINÉAD SMYTH