Overlooking a marina, this impressive lakeside period house makes a fine hotel, and the scale of the Victorian architecture and the style of furnishings and decor lean very much towards the luxurious in both public areas and accommodation.
Immaculately maintained and regularly refurbished, it has an impressive conference and banqueting area with its own separate entrance, which has been discreetly added to the side and rear of the original building and, despite its large size and more contemporary approach, in no way detracts from the appeal of the old house.
Spacious bedrooms range from interconnecting family rooms to deluxe doubles and romantic suites with canopied four-poster beds, and front rooms have stunning views.
The hotel’s air conditioned cruiser, Lady of the Lake, offers catering and bar facilities for up to 56 for tours, corporate events, conferences and parties.
Conference/banqueting (400/350). Leisure centre, indoor swimming pool; beauty salon. Children under 3 free in parents' room (cots available). No pets.
Rooms 81 (all en-suite, 2 suites, 12 junior suites, 3 single) B&B about £70pps, single £90. Special breaks offered.
The Belleek Restaurant:
The restaurant is beautifully appointed (even more so since a recent refurb) and well positioned to make the most of the lovely view. The hotel has always had a well earned reputation for its kitchen, but things have moved up a few gears since the arrival Rory Carville as Head Chef in 2015.
A relatively local man - he is from Castleblayney, Co Monaghan - this talented chef arrived via a number of famous Dublin restaurants, most recently the former Locks Brasserie on the Grand Canal, where he was Head Chef, and Cleaver East at the Clarence Hotel, which he opened with Oliver Dunne, of Bon Appetit in Malahide.
All of this is reflected in sophisticated menus sporting a few recherché details that provide entertaining conversation pieces - anyone for oyster leaf? (In case you're wondering, it contributes a special briney taste to dishes such as a wonderful starter of Wet Cured Atlantic Salmon with fennel & caper sprout cream, quail egg, pickled cucumber, caper flower, and said oyster leaf.)
Esoteric ingredients aside, menus express the admirable philosophy “True to the region, true to the season”, and the detailed descriptions translate into beautiful, creative dishes that are a joy to look at but most memorable for real flavour that can sometimes pack quite a punch.
A meal here begins in traditional fine dining style with an amuse-bouche (a little je ne sais quoi of salmon and avocado foam, perhaps) and there are special signature dishes too. These may include a stunning starter of Goat Curd & Buttermilk Mousse with young vegetables, beetroot bavarois, and orange fluid gel - with delicate yet distinctive tastes and wonderful presentation it is a must-try summer dish, if it is on, and as pretty as a picture (take a look at the image on their website).
Fish is a particular strength, with Pan Fried Hake Lardo di Colonnata, with wild artichoke, monk’s beard (another talking point!), tempura oyster, and bordelaise sauce also a dish to seek out - or its variations, as it may appear on several menus using different fish. The lardo di colonnata is paper thin on the hake which is cooked to perfection, with lovely skin and not over-seasoned.
But meat lovers will also be very happy with a dish such as the excellent John Stone Dry Aged Beef Fillet with beef cheek & summer truffle pithivier, mushroom duxelle, parsley puree, truffle aioli (£5 supplement on the dinner menu). Bearing in mind that the pithivier (which looks and tastes lovely) is quite substantial alongside the steak, this is a dish for meat lovers with big appetites.
A lovely selection of desserts might include an exquisitely creamy pannacotta with a fruity topping (raspberry, in season, perhaps) and a dark chocolate fondant with cherry ganache ('the full chocolate experience'), and yellowman ice cream giving a summery nod to a unique Co Antrim speciality.
Good teamwork between pleasant, experienced staff and well trained younger people should provide smooth, well paced service to back up the good work done in the kitchen, making for a memorable experience in this lovely venue.
The Enniskillen area can boast several ambitious kitchens and there is no doubt that the Manor House must be giving them a run for their money - and the ace up its sleeve is the wonderful setting.
Service from a well-trained team is engaged and, like the food, in tune with the grand surroundings, making this a good choice for a special evening out.