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Irish diners place a high premium on atmosphere – often rating it even above the quality of food when choosing where to eat out – but this restaurant, although certainly atmospheric, has much more to it than that. As everyone familiar with past winners of our Atmospheric category will know, we seek out establishments that offer very high standards all round, with great atmosphere as the icing on the cake.
Some really lovely restored buildings beside Marlfield House took on a new lease of life in 2015, when a series of disused areas - including a coach house, potting shed and gardener’s tool shed - were very attractively developed by Margaret and Laura Bowe to create a stylishly informal restaurant and café-bar, named ‘The Duck’ after their mother Mary’s fondness for the ducks in their garden.
With a large terrace overlooking the fine kitchen gardens that have for many years inspired proudly seasonal menus in the main house (as they still do), diners at the new restaurant can enjoy them in a very up close and personal way, as the terrace is right alongside the kitchen garden - which, in summer, is a wonderfully lush mixture of herbs, vegetables, fruit and rose blooms.
It's a magic spot, especially on a fine day - and, although it may be a more obvious choice in summer, this relaxed restaurant is an atmospheric all-year destination and there’s always a cheering open fire to make it a cosy place to enjoy the good modern, broadly Italian, cooking in the colder months.
A charming restaurant, and an instant success from day one - it's easy to see why.