We at PlacesToStay.com are always on the lookout for something a bit different to lift everyday experiences out of the ordinary. We certainly found it at the Pullman Restaurant at Glenlo Abbey Hotel in picturesque Bushy Park, Galway. Set in a succession of four railway carriages, two of them from the original Orient Express that featured in the 1974 film Murder on the Orient Express, the Pullman is just the ticket when it comes to novel dining experiences.
Forget any memories you have of damp and smelly railway carriages where you either froze or slowly boiled, depending on whether the windows were stuck in an open or closed position: The Pullman carriages have been adapted for restaurant use with no expense spared. Evoking the luxury atmosphere of elite early-20th-century travel, the restaurant features a lounge/bar area leading to an open dining carriage and two private compartments, each seating up to six.
The dining carriage, dubbed “Leona,” retains the mystique of a 1st-class parlour car, with rich wood, marquetry, and brass fittings. A gentle soundtrack of train sounds lends authenticity, and the nostalgia continues with discreet music from the 1940s and 1950s. The windows frame views of a manicured golf course, Lough Corrib, and the Connemara hills.
If you suspect that such a novel setting may be used to distract from average food, worry not. Winner of the Good Food Guide’s Best Restaurant in Connacht award in 2010, the Pullman offers a menu that reflects the exotic travels of the Orient Express with an innovative mix of Irish and Asian influences. Try saffron & lemon-infused crab-meat risotto finished with nutmeg butter and mustard cress to start, followed by half a roast Chinese-style duckling on a ginger-infused pumpkin puree, with a mint & honey jus.
Desserts embrace the Orient Express theme with gusto: Choose from “Poirot Pie,” a butternut squash and pineapple tart tatin with vanilla ice-cream; “Agatha Christie,” poached pear in sweet white wine and served with chocolate mousse & crème chantilly; or “Murder on the Orient Express,” a rich chocolate mocha tart with espresso granita.
Total seating capacity is 86, with dinner served from 6.30pm Fridays and Saturdays.
Reserved your table at the Pullman Restaurant? Now book a holiday home in Galway with PlacesToStay.com and complete the luxury experience.