We dined in Ballymaloe on October 30th as a special treat for my husband's birthday and to mark the end of our Autum break in east Cork. We were so disappointed with the quality and overall dining experience. I have read so much about Ballymaloe and it has been on my "must visit" places for a long time, but it was more than a let-down. The house itself is lovely and welcoming with a mix of georgian and conteporary features and decor. The service was slap-dash with different table staff all during our meal. There is no al a carte, only a dinner menu, priced at €75 per head, pricey but not beyond our budget. H'or d'ouvres were great, no complaints, but the bread was lacking in freshness and flavour. Soups were extremely salty and characterless. I had chosen fish but it was less than freshly cooked and lacking in that lovely flaky freshness that I associate with both east and west cork fish. My husbands lamb was an unforgivable presentation, thin and overcooked and swimming in a pale gravy. Vegatable accompaniments were crusted and not cooked to order. We didnt complain as it was supposed to be a special night our for us, however I was so sorry that I hadn't taken my concierge's advice and gone for Isaccs in Cork city. I was utterly disappointed by the restaurant which proports to only produce Ireland's best?
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