I recently visited Ardtara House with my girlfriend's family for a special occasion and we were looking to have a lovely 3 course meal. I must say the location is superb with fantastic gardens surrounding the house. The house itself could do with a coat of white or cream paint but it was full of charm but I did notice a lot of cob webs in the door way on the way in. Whether intended by the owners or not to add to the charm, I don't know! A polite front of house colleague directed us in to a nice room where we ordered drinks while we waited to be seated in our room. Unfortunately the beer four of us had was completely flat and somewhat set the tone for what was to follow...
We were seated at our table and one of my friends spilt her wine by accident due to the tables that were put together being uneven. We ordered wine off the extensive wine list and it was great I have to say. Starters were a mixed bag, some of the portion sizes were minimal to say the least but tasted quite nice. But unfortunately the main course was an unmitigated disaster! Those who ordered duck, well it tasted pretty awful and the potatoes were definitely off. Two duck servings were returned to the kitchen, one of which was wrongly cooked and the other whose potatoes were rancid! We were told at that stage that there was no duck left, then miraculously two freshly cooked duck breasts returned from the kitchen! Those who ordered the chicken breast said it tasted very bland and was quite cold. However, the steak eaters amongst the group fared the best and the rib eyes did taste pretty nice. However, they obviously forgot to cook mine as my main course came along 15 minutes after everyone elses which quite simply is not good enough! Steak knives also took their time to arrive and had my fellow diners followed usual dining ettiquette and waited for me, everyone's meal would have been stone cold! We ordered vegetables to accompany our main courses but were simply told 'we have none' - unbelievable! Our main courses left such a bad taste in our mouths that we simply didn't want to find out what horrors awaited with dessert. We let our feelings be made known to the female waitress taking charge for the night and she was extremely apolgetic. She offered us all a drink on the house which really was the very least that could have been offered to us. I must say that the service was really good and the waiters and waitresses are playing their part. We all felt quite embarassed for the issues they had to deal with. Unfortunately the chef and his team in the kitchen are not doing theirs...I know this country house is up for sale and I hate seeing any hotel going out of business. However, if the owners don't do something quickly to fix things it is surely doomed. The most dissappointing thing is that Ardtara House has such fantastic potential - the owners just need to fix alot of things and fast!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- “Most Romantic Country House Of The Year” (AA Award). Ardtara is an elegantly restored 19th-century manor house, situated between Belfast and the Giant’s Causeway Coast. Once home to the Clark family, world-famous linen makers, Ardtara is now widely regarded as one of the finest country house hotels in Northern Ireland. The nine bedrooms are spacious with high ceilings, modern en-suite bathrooms, deluxe king-size beds, charming antiques and original grand (working) fireplaces. All set in the privacy and tranquility of eight wooded acres. Ardtara has also been selected as a “Fodor’s Choice” hotel, has Four Stars from the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and is a member of the Ireland’s prestigious Blue Book hotel guide. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Ardtara Country House Hotel Upperlands
- Ardtara Hotel Derry
- Ardtara Country House Upperlands, Northern Ireland