A hidden getaway in the woods with a Michelin star twist

Posted on 16th November 2021

When you feel like an escape is necessary, and not just for an hour or two, a proper getaway from everything for some real R&R can be just what the doctor ordered.

This is exactly what I was in search of when I booked into The Wicklow Escape, and it did not disappoint. I came back from the luxury, foodie retreat feeling fresh, calm, and full to the brim of delicious food.

As we journeyed to the west of Wicklow, we passed the Blessington Lakes, through small towns, and finally, until finally we reached (in what might seem like the middle of nowhere) The Wicklow Escape.

Upon arrival, I was greeted by Conrad, who very kindly showed us to our room, before informing us that we had a complimentary drink to avail of whenever we wanted. The first sign of a great night away.

The room was small and quaint, yet had all the luxuries you need in a small cabin. After settling in, we made our way to the wood-fired hot tub which is located on the scenic grounds, and sat beneath the canopy of oak trees in the foothills of the mountains.

While enjoying the peaceful surroundings and views, Conrad arrived with a gin and tonic, the cherry on top of an already lovely afternoon. As the sun started to dip, and we made our way to an outdoor seating area, still dressed in the fluffy robes provided, and sat reading, as we nibbled our way through olives, feeling ourselves completely relax amid nature.

However, what we really couldn’t wait for was the highly anticipated five-course menu that is one of the main jewels in the crown of The Wicklow Escape. Since its recent rebranding, Michelin star chef, Danni Barry, has been placed as Head Chef and the culinary results are spectacular.

We made our way to the communal dining room, which featured a long beautifully carved wooden table, as well as a roaring fire, the perfect setting to enjoy what was to be an exceptional meal.

With each course, it was hard to believe the one previous could be topped, but Danni’s skills using local produce is exceptional. We feasted on canapés before slow-cooked duck yolk with bacon jam was served, followed by cod and then a mouth-watering lamb with spiced courgette.

The main dishes were served with new potatoes, garden herbs, and cultured butter. Then came the cardamom and rose cream for dessert, and the meal ended with an iced coffee, which was a delicious ice cream.

Each course was paired with wine, red and white, and we drank our fill throughout the evening as with only nine guests staying at the Wicklow Escape, there was no pressure to finish up. And to be honest it wasn’t long before we were all chatting and enjoying each other’s company.

But all good things must come to an end, and we retired sated for a peaceful night’s sleep. We woke feeling fresh and had a walk around the grounds, where a number of the ingredients used in the dishes are grown. The thought of brunch was far from our mind, but soon worked up an appetite worthy of the spread.

Brunch was again in the dining room, where there was a menu to choose from. I opted for the potato rosti with shakshuka eggs while my companion, satisfied her sweet tooth with delectable cinnamon french toast.

We left The Wicklow Escape with new recipe ideas, a full belly, and with a feeling that we had found a hidden gem where we could completely escape from life for a perfect moment.

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