The Pullman Restaurant - dining on the Orient Express in Galway, Ireland
The Pullman Restaurant Orient Express Glenlo Abbey Hotel Galway Ireland

The Pullman Restaurant review

The Pullman Restaurant review. Disclaimer: I was a guest of the venue and did not pay for the meal. However, what follows is an honest review and account of my experience. I dined here in June, 2016.

You don’t need to travel to Istanbul, Paris or Vienna to enjoy a memorable experience onboard the famous Orient Express. You can do so right here in Ireland.

Situated on the grounds of the five-star Glenlo Abbey Hotel in Galway are two original carriages from the Orient Express, which used to travel around Europe in the first part of the twentieth century.

The carriages now make up the Pullman Restaurant.

The Pullman Restaurant Orient Express Glenlo Abbey Hotel Galway IrelandApart from transporting the rich and fabulous around Europe, Sir Winston Churchill travelled in the train. In fact, its last journey was on January 30, 1965. The train carried Churchill’s body from London to its final resting place in Oxfordshire.

But that wasn’t the end of the train’s service. In 1974, The Pullman played a starring role in the Agatha Christie film ‘Murder on the Orient Express’.

So as you can see, this is no ordinary setting for a restaurant.

The Pullman Restaurant Orient Express Glenlo Abbey Hotel Galway IrelandWhen you enter the Pullman Restaurant you first must pass the carved regal lions that guard the entrance. Then you had over your first-class ticket to the conductor. Then you step onboard and step back in time.

The carriages are exquisitely restored. You dine surrounded by carved wood panelling, lacquered curved ceilings, plush Fleur De Lis carpet and polished brass. Antique lace curtains and drapes adorn the windows that look out over Lough Corrib and beyond to the Connemara hills.

You sit in the original armchair seats at the original dining tables. The tables are small but it just makes for a very cosy meal and encourages easy conversation. The whole experience is elegant with a relaxed and warm ambience. Whilst the surroundings are posh dining at the Pullman Restaurant never feels stuffy.

The Pullman Restaurant Orient Express Glenlo Abbey Hotel Galway IrelandBut what is a fabulous setting for a meal if the food isn’t up to scratch? Well, having recently received the prestigious second AA rosette, the food in the Pullman Restaurant certainly matches its graceful surrounds.

The Pullman Restaurant serves an à la carte dinner each evening from April to October and at weekends throughout winter months. However, check the Glenlo Abbey Hotel website as there are special dining events in the Pullman Restaurant throughout the year.

I attended an afternoon tea event.

The Pullman Restaurant Orient Express Glenlo Abbey Hotel Galway IrelandHowever, afternoon tea is now served in the beautiful River Room Restaurant in the Glenlo Abbey Hotel.

The afternoon tea was exceptional. It arrived out on a three-tier curate stand and the tea and coffee were poured from silver teapots into delicate bone china cups, as it should be. It was a charming celebration of the traditional afternoon tea ritual.

The bottom tier was a rich savoury offering of chicken liver foie gras mousse on brioche served with matcha and quince. There was Connemara smoked salmon with caper watercress on soft brown soda bread. We also had a perfectly executed croque-monsieur with truffle on toasted white bread with a fried quail egg on top. There was also a very flavourful Galway goat farm cheese with beetroot and walnut on fresh sourdough. The savoury tier was a creative and tasty marriage of classic flavours with a contemporary kick.

The Pullman Restaurant Orient Express Glenlo Abbey Hotel Galway IrelandThe sweet middle tier was almost too pretty to eat. Almost. It was decorated with bright delights such as delicate elderflower and vanilla eclairs, rosewater and raspberry tarts that burst with flavour, soft lemon balm drizzle cakes that melted in the mouth, popcorn macaroons that dissolved on the tongue and rich and decadent chocolate and Guinness cakes with Bailey’s buttercream. The sweet tier had it all – fresh berries, cream, cake, pastry, chocolate, booze – and was perfectly presented in one faultless package.

And what is afternoon tea without scones?

The Pullman Restaurant Orient Express Glenlo Abbey Hotel Galway IrelandYou all know I am a bit of a scone addict. Well, on the Pullman Restaurant I was spoiled for choice. There were plain and fruit scones dusted with icing sugar and served with decadent clotted cream and Kylemore Abbey strawberry preserve. These were warm and fluffy with a lovely buttery finish.

All of these savoury and sweet treats were severed with a handpicked selection of tea and coffee.

The afternoon tea that is now served in the River Room restaurant in the Glenlo Abbey Hotel is very similar to the one I had onboard the Pullman Restaurant. Here is the Glenlo Abbey Hotel afternoon tea menu.

The whole experience left me not only stuffed and on a sugar high but also enamoured by the charms and romance of the Orient Express and the Pullman Restaurant.

The Pullman Restaurant Orient Express Glenlo Abbey Hotel Galway IrelandThe Pullman Restaurant wasn’t clichéd it was charming. The food was perfectly prepared and presented and tasted marvellous with a whole array of complementary flavours and contrasting textures. Both the dining experience in the Pullman Restaurant and the afternoon tea were very memorable and I would wholeheartedly recommend booking either one or both.

In fact, there is a very special dining experience available to book now that coincides in with the launch of Murder on the Orient Express starring Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer and Kenneth Branagh. You can stay overnight and enjoy dinner aboard the Pullman Restaurant and a screening of the original Murder on the Orient Express in the intimate and plush, Abbey Movie Theatre followed by breakfast the next morning. And sure, whilst you are there you may as well book in for afternoon tea, too. Go on, treat yourself. You won’t regret it.

Click here to book the Glenlo Abbey Murder on the Orient Express Experience.

Click here to book afternoon tea in Glenlo Abbey Hotel.

You may also like my review of the Finn Lough Bubble Domes in Northern Ireland.

If you like this review of The Pullman Restaurant, please share with others.

31 Comments
  • Sean Gorman
    Posted at 23:55h, 20 October Reply

    Looks like a nice place, But if you are not paying, it is not a real honest review – It is sponsored promotion.

    • Katia
      Posted at 06:50h, 21 October Reply

      No. It is not. Sponsored promotion is when you get paid to write for it. What has happened here is what happens to every food reviewers. They get invited to try a place (for free) with a hope that they will like it.

      Would you really think that someone will take hours out of their day to write an article about something they didn’t like? And all that for afternoon tea?

      Finally, have you ever been invited for food somewhere and really liked it? If not, I’m disappointed for you.

  • Sean Gorman
    Posted at 21:00h, 21 October Reply

    Hmm, no. If you are given something for free the chances are you are going to like it and say nice things about it. Let’s face it, you are hardly going to write a review complaining about it, are you. Most honest restaurant reviewers pay for their meals, do not accept freebies etc. that is the problem with the blogger/influencer trend today, there is no truth if everything is comped or someone else is paying. So, not real, not honest.

    • Katia
      Posted at 21:20h, 21 October Reply

      All I note is that you’re not bothered to comments on her reviews of place she’s paid to eat in. So I can only think that you’re after a moan and a wind up. An honest commenter would surely have more to say than negative things.

  • Sean Gorman
    Posted at 23:40h, 21 October Reply

    Haven’t got to them yet. Just a general preference – if you’re going to label your reviews as honest, real etc. they need to be objective, I.e, not attending on a freebie. Guessing you’re one of the ‘Influencer/Free Lunch’ brigade…

    • recessionbites2014
      Posted at 10:13h, 22 October Reply

      Thanks for your guess Sean, as it happens I don’t do reviews. I just can’t see why you’d take the time to read and comment on something you think must automatically be dishonnest. Lift is too short. Enjoy your Sunday.

  • stephaniesherlock
    Posted at 16:47h, 26 October Reply

    This looks like an elegant affair, and the food looks almost too beautiful to eat. They are all so decadent. Thank you for sharing.

    • Melanie May
      Posted at 20:08h, 29 October Reply

      Thanks for the comment Stephanie. The food was so pretty. I wish I took more photos of it but I just wanted to dive in and eat it all.

  • Amalia
    Posted at 16:51h, 26 October Reply

    Wow, this place is incredible, looks so refined! I have never heard of it before but now thanks to you I have the perfect place for afternoon tea in Ireland!

    • Melanie May
      Posted at 20:07h, 29 October Reply

      It is one of the best and most unique afternoon tea experiences I have ever had.

  • Jhilmil Bhansali
    Posted at 05:56h, 27 October Reply

    Wow, what an interesting ambience and feel. Really looks classy, we have a similar experience in India on a vintage running train, but that is too pricey.

    • Melanie May
      Posted at 20:06h, 29 October Reply

      Oh, I would love to see the vintage train in India. What is it called?

  • Jeenu Pillai
    Posted at 05:59h, 27 October Reply

    Wow, the place looks incredible. It has this really refined and elite aura to it.

    • Melanie May
      Posted at 20:06h, 29 October Reply

      It really is incredible, the photos don’t do it justice.

  • Bhumi
    Posted at 06:10h, 27 October Reply

    Ireland always reminds me of Niall Horan The Pullman seems a great restaurant and the good looks so decent. 🙂

    • Melanie May
      Posted at 20:05h, 29 October Reply

      Bahaha! Maybe they’ll play some Niall Horan music when you come visit.

  • Ut Minh (@utminh2810)
    Posted at 11:23h, 27 October Reply

    Never been to this place. This restaurant design concept is excellent. I will save it and plan.

    • Melanie May
      Posted at 20:04h, 29 October Reply

      Check out the website and plan a trip around one of its special events.

  • toastycritic
    Posted at 19:02h, 27 October Reply

    That looks like it was such a cute dining experience. I don’t think that it could be considered cliche. Some people just want to hate on various things.

    • Melanie May
      Posted at 20:04h, 29 October Reply

      It was very cute but in a grown up way.

  • London Mumma
    Posted at 19:27h, 27 October Reply

    I am dying to experience fine dining at its best on a pullman carriage, always looks great.

    • Melanie May
      Posted at 20:03h, 29 October Reply

      If you ever plan a visit from London you should let me know and we can go together.

  • Nayna Kanabar
    Posted at 21:57h, 27 October Reply

    I love the sound of afternoon tea in a pulmans carriage.It must have been such a lovely experience.

    • Melanie May
      Posted at 20:02h, 29 October Reply

      Afternoon tea is pretty special as it is, but it is even more special on a train!

  • Claire (@clairebeary94)
    Posted at 19:22h, 28 October Reply

    Omg, that restaurant is fancy! I love the entrance, the rug, and all those food photos. I would love to have my dining experience there!

    • Melanie May
      Posted at 20:02h, 29 October Reply

      If you ever make it over to Ireland you should book a table. You’d love it.

  • A Busy Bees Life - Sheri
    Posted at 05:43h, 30 October Reply

    Afternoon tea events are always great. I have not been to Ireland but we are in London often and maybe could make a trip over there.

  • Via Bella
    Posted at 13:56h, 30 October Reply

    I would love to go to a restuarant like this. It’s so cute and quaint. I love the lion statues too. The food is cute. What isn’t to love?

    • Melanie May
      Posted at 14:04h, 05 November Reply

      The afternoon tea is very cute and there is a special Christmas afternoon tea coming up that looks absolutely wonderful.

  • ayeshafarhad
    Posted at 22:11h, 31 October Reply

    So fancy! the lion statues bring so much character to the place!

    • Melanie May
      Posted at 14:02h, 05 November Reply

      Don’t they? The whole place is brimming with character!

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