A visit to MacNean House and Restaurant has been on my list for years but every time I went to book the only available dates were months and months away. I was overjoyed to receive an email a couple of weeks ago advising me of a cancellation for the following Friday, not only for a meal but also an overnight stay! I immediately called Sue to let her know to cancel her plans, and my husband to ensure he’d be working close to home that day so he could get home on time to mind the children. I collected Sue from work on Friday afternoon & we set off up the N3 like Thelma & Louise.
What is MacNean House and Restaurant?
Multi award winning MacNean House and Restaurant is where celebrity chef Neven Maguire shares his passion for food. Not only is it a restaurant, it’s also a guesthouse and a cookery school where Neven shares his top tips and recipes. He personally teaches each class so you’ll be learning from the best. The restaurant has been in Neven's family since 1969; 16 years ago Neven took the reins and has transformed the restaurant into one of the most successful restaurants in Ireland, well and truly putting Blacklion on the map.
Where is MacNean House & Restaurant?
If, like me, you’re Kildare based, or anywhere south of Dublin, be prepared for a drive as MacNean House is located in Blacklion, Co Cavan, just a stone’s throw from Enniskillen. It was perfectly fine with me though as time spent on a road trip with my favourite sister catching up is time well spent! (I'm her only sister but I'll take it - Sue)
Our Experience at MacNean House & Restaurant
From the moment we checked in we knew we were in for a special evening. Each member of staff we encountered was so lovely and welcoming. Our opulent room for the night was fabulously decorated with muted tones, complete with an ornate chandelier. There’s even an option to change your pillow for a goose feather pillow. In hindsight, taking them up on that offer is our only regret from the entire experience.
As soon as we arrived at the restaurant we were seated and presented with our menus. Neven’s signature tasting menu comprises of eight courses of the finest dishes made from locally sourced, quality ingredients. There’s also a vegetarian menu. You are free to choose your dishes from either menu, as we did as some of the vegetarian dishes were mouth-watering.
We both opted for the wine selection; the Sommelier did a wonderful job pairing each dish to a specially selected wine. Each course was well thought out, perfectly executed and presented superbly. Truly, this was the only meal we have had that we literally couldn't keep up with the wine. In both volume and quality, we were floored.
They certainly don’t do things by halves at MacNean House; breakfast is yet another example of this as it’s a magnificent lavish affair. It’d be a pity to go for dinner and leave without having the full MacNean experience. By including an overnight stay you get to enjoy a sumptuous breakfast fit for a queen.
Though we're usually a little sceptical about waiting lists as long as your leg, it's easy to see why this Blacklion gem is booked out months in advance.
How much does it cost?
Neven’s signature tasting menu costs €85pp, €135pp including wine selection. Overnight stays start at just €55pp on a bed & breakfast basis, mid-week. We didn’t pay for our experience as I was lucky enough to have a gift card, but rest assured this didn't make one iota of difference to the service or our experience. The atmosphere in the dining room on both occasions was incredible, with audible appreciation from every table for every course; a definite first for us.
As an aside, the dining room atmosphere is, without doubt, one of the reasons this was one of the best meals we've had. It felt intimate & conspiratory, as though we were each in on a secret that no one else knew, part of something special. Tables conversed easily with one another or between themselves and the noise level remained comfortable and comforting. No mean feat for a room filled to capacity.
My Top Tip for MacNean House
My Stone Travel Tip would be to keep an eye on the cancellation section on their website HERE and do yourself & a loved one a solid by leaping on the first available booking you can find.
Have you ever been to MacNean House? Maybe you've completed a cookery course with Neven Maguire?
What did you think? Please let us know!