Posted: 19 June '12 by Kelly
It’s been said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day – and although it’s never been very high on Niall’s agenda, I think it might just be my favourite meal-time too.
After hearing Jay Rayner’s great review of Rayanne House in Holywood on The One Show, I jumped at the chance and persuaded Niall to book a table.
If I’m being honest I’ll admit that I’d never heard of Rayanne House before this – it really is one of those “best kept secret” type of places – but driving up the tree-lined entrance we knew we’d found something special. Even though it’s within Holywood Village, the house feels very secluded and tranquil, and the views over Belfast lough are well worth taking a minute or two to appreciate.
After quick dash inside to avoid the rain we were greeted by Bernie McClelland, joint owner of Rayanne House, and a few Mimosas – now this is how breakfast should begin every day! Sipping our cocktails in a beautifully decorated sitting room, we took a minute or two to relax and have a look over the menu.
Breakfast at Rayanne House
I’m probably spoiling the suspense here, but it needs to be said: when you think of breakfast I can guarantee you that what you’ll get at Rayanne House is like nothing you’ve had before. It’s not often that I’m stunned into silence, but the menu had me lost for words.
First of all, there are starters and mains! Yes you read it correctly, starters and main for breakfast! There are also plenty of quirky, tasty dishes on the menu, as well as some standard breakfast items that chef Conor McClelland has given a nice twist to. In short, I was in heaven..
After a fair bit of ‘hmmming’ and ‘haaaing’ I ordered the Compote of Warmed Spiced Fruits & Clandeboye Yogurt with Spiced with Dark Rum, Brandy, Cinnamon and cloves to start while Niall chose the Home-made Prune Soufflé on a Puree of Fresh Green Figs.
It mightn’t be the most descriptive thing to say, but my starter was perfect – the oranges had been glazed in the smooth caramel and there was a subtle hint of warm, Winter spices which the hazelnut yoghurt complimented superbly. Once I’d ordered I was a bit worried that the caramel might be too sweet and overpower the oranges, but it was delicately done and the dish was fresh and zingy.
Judging by Niall’s reaction, his starter was just as good. The soufflé was light but quite rich, with a delicious, jammy prune flavour, which the tart fig sauce contrasted nicely against.
On to the star of the show – our mains. My Hot toasted Potato Bread smothered with Melted Irish Cheddar, served with Cured Bacon & Spiced Chutney was, without a doubt, the nicest breakfast I’ve ever had – and I don’t say that lightly! The bacon was crisp and slightly salty, the flavour of the mature cheese was strong and rounded and the potato bread was light and fluffy, and all brought together by the wonderful spiky, fruity chutney.. I couldn’t fault it at all.
Niall’s Scrambled Eggs with Crabmeat, Cream Cheese and Chives was divine, and shows just how good the food at Rayanne House is – it’s so easy for the delicate crab flavour to be over-shadowed by other ingredients, but Conor clearly has a light hand. The eggs were light and fluffy, with a creamy quality from the cheese, which was ideal against the sweet crabmeat. Decadence on a plate.
|Compote of Warmed Spiced Fruits & Clandeboye Yogurt with Spiced with Dark Rum, Brandy, Cinnamon and cloves|
|Home-made Prune Soufflé on a Puree of Fresh Green Figs|
|Hot toasted Potato Bread smothered with Melted Irish Cheddar, served with Cured Bacon & Spiced Chutney|
|Scrambled Eggs with Crabmeat, Cream Cheese and Chives|
Our breakfast at Rayanne House was delicious, and faultless in every way – from the really welcoming staff to the incredible breakfast, we were genuinely impressed – all we could do was smile for the rest of the morning.
After our wonderful breakfast we got the chance to meet both Conor and Bernie and got a quick tour of their boutique guesthouse. They really have created a beautiful place there, and it’s clear to see their passion for the house – so much so that we decided to have a very special celebration in Rayanne House there and then!
Rayanne House in Holywood – Northern Ireland’s best kept secret, but not for much longer..
Rayanne House have recently received a AA Gold Star Award for scoring in the top 10% of the 5 star rating. Good work guys, well deserved!!
The other thing I must add here is that the pork and prune sausages are superb. Conor spent a while perfecting the taste with the local butcher and believe me when I tell you that you have to try them!
Categories: Restaurant Reviews