We stayed at this hotel for a couple nights and had the most gorgeous view of the Lough Lein, Killarney’s lower lake, with a unique backdrop of the mountains, islands, woodlands and the 12th century McCarthy Mór castle ruins. The Lake Hotel is a four star property run by the Huggard Family and has been welcoming guests since 1820.
On our first night, we decided to just dine at the hotel's restaurant. A 2-course or 3-course prixe fix menu are available. We started with fresh bread and butter and a palate cleanser of passion fruit gelee with black bread crumbles.
For my starter, I chose the St. Tola Goats Cheese Panna Cotta with beetroot textures, basil oil, pickled walnuts and walnut crumb. Artfully plated, the goat cheese was very mild - almost like cream cheese - but was classically paired with the beets, and the walnuts added extra crunch.
I ordered the Smoked Atlantic Salmon with Mussels, topped with fennel and apple slaw and apple gelee. The salmon had such great smokey flavor that was not overpowering, rather addictive. The sweet apple and fennel slaw cut the smokiness and added a brightness to each bite. The mussels were also fresh and overall, I truly enjoyed this dish.
We returned the next morning for the full Irish Breakfast. With a cold station of yogurts, fruit, and pastries and a warm station of various egg dishes, sausages, roasted potatoes, grilled mushrooms and tomatoes - this breakfast was one of the best we had in Ireland, and was a great way to fuel ourselves for a full day of sightseeing. Plus, seeing the morning view of the lake was a bonus.
All in all, the Castlelough Restaurant provides refined dining in an elegant and mystical setting overlooking the lake and castle ruins. The food was of high quality and not the typical hotel-fare, which was a pleasant surprise.
Total Rating: 4.2
Food: 4, Price: 4.5, Service: 4, Ambience: 5, Accessibility: 4