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Sally's blog

All the best places to eat, shop and stay in Ireland. A local guide to local places.

Who doesn’t love a sushi conveyor belt? Connie McKenna pulls up a stool and reaches for a few plates in Tomodochi.

Tempting as it is to watch Tomodochi's sushi plate conveyer belt roll away slowly past your eyes, you should make sure to look around you when you climb the stairs to this new Galway restaurant, for Tomodachi also boasts an admirable interior.

The three sections of the room give the diner a choice of sitting cross legged, tatami-style,  on the floor in a descending square dip; there is the snug square zone of the conveyer belt district; or the more 'westernised' eating area.

Want to bake perfect sourdough bread? Just go back to school. Sally McKenna explains how to do it.

The idea of being able to make a Californian-type sourdough is the dream of many a domestic baker. I set about to see can if it be done: can you make crunchy-crusted, chewy-airy, satisfying and flavourful bread in a domestic oven in small batches?

Yes, is the answer. But, it takes time, and I think you need a lot of help. I did anyway.

Palmento Pizza in Douglas is the Real Deal, says William Barry

Elio Tavolieri has had his hands in 00 floor since he was a boy.

His father, Elio Snr, moved to Ireland from Italy in 1972, married a Kerry woman and they have been running pizza restaurants in Cork ever since. Like most offspring of restaurant folk Elio and his siblings were drafted in to help at every opportunity, so he has spent most of his life making pizza.

He decided to take it further, and moved to Naples and to work with Ciro Salvo, a masterful pizzaiuolo who owns a famous pizzeria in Naples where they are known to serve up over eight hundred pizzas on a quiet day.

Connie McKenna gets with the plant power at Cork’s new Vegan Restaurant 143v

Cork's Lower Glanmire Road is blessed to have this tiny vegan cottage, 143v, in its neighbourhood.
Lauren, the youthful maestro behind this friendly little joint, shows no hesitation as regards the eager eyes studying her as she toils in her tiny pod of a kitchen, quietly cooking her homely dishes: beetroot burger with smoky cheese; breakfast bagel; heavenly fudge brownies; excellent mashed potato. The coffee is good, the vegetable and fruit juices are even better.

Fia is the favoured new place of worship in Dublin 6, says John McKenna

10.25am on a Sunday morning in Rathgar, and Fia is full.
The nearby churches are most likely empty, but Fia is full.
There is so much laughter in the room that you might imagine it was Friday evening, right after work. That sound, of course, is the sound of people energised and excited by great food. If you want to assess if an individual restaurant is good, don’t look at the menu: listen to the volume.
10.25am on a Sunday morning, and Fia is loud. And that’s because Fia is exceptionally good.

Sally McKenna relishes the Dublin 8 District Vibe of the Radisson Blue Royal Hotel

Just a short stroll up from St Stephen's Green, the Radisson Blu Royal hotel feels like no other Dublin city centre hotel. The ten-year-old building sits just behind the narrow, medieval streets surrounding Dublin Castle, and a couple of blocks down from St Patrick's Cathedral. It is also near to the once glorious, but now architecturally-overlooked, 16th century mansioned Aungier Street.

Great chefs need great sommeliers to take the dining experience to a new level. Here are three food and wine duos who take it higher.

The hardest working man in Ireland is Zsolt Lukács.
Just look at the guy, haring around table after table at Aniar restaurant, in Galway’s West End, as he tends to everyone’s wine selection.
It would seem that everyone this evening has opted to have the tasting menu with the wine pairing. This is a smart move but, with seven courses on each of the menus – and a quartet of little dishes to start – it means Mr Lukács is changing every table’s wine and wine glasses after every course.

Bantry’s iconic The Snug has just opened their new dining room open in time for the Chamber Music and Literary Festivals. A report, plus all the other key Bantry destinations you need to know.

The Snug/O'D’s
It’s long gone 10 o’clock on Saturday night but, for the staff in Bantry’s The Snug, there is no chance yet to ease up, kick back, and call it a day.
Pressure for a table is still intense: the 5 French tourists at the bar are waiting to eat, and there are a 3-top and a 4-top of locals still hoping for a table.

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