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Sally's blog

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

Stanley's, Dublin, by Leslie Williams

Leslie Williams is bowled over by Peter Clifford's subtle cooking in Stanley's, on Dublin's St. Andrew's Street.

Pork; fennel; nettle; and strawberry – flavours few of us would put together but, roll them round in your head, and you realise someone should have thought of this before.

Next add in some caramel and moscatel scented Palo Cortado Sherry, and citrus and almond flavoured, salty dry Amontillado (plus a touch of that old furniture aroma) and the string quartet becomes a chamber orchestra.

Bogbean Café & B&B, Roundstone, Connemara, Co Galway

Bogbean sounds just... right.
What is it? It's a smart, suave café and a series of five B&B rooms upstairs in the centre of Roundstone, run by Orla Conneely and Shane McElligott.
But Bogbean is also a plant, and a strangely appropriate one, at that. Why so?
Well, because it's a plant that likes to have its feet wet, with its stems reaching well into the water in its habitat of bogs, canals, streams, fens and slow-moving water.

The Idle Wall, Westport

John McKenna heads back to his childhood in Aine Maguire's The Idle Wall, in Westport, County Mayo

Aine Maguire's menus are a palimpsest, both of her private life, and of her cooking life. Her food in her new restaurant, The Idle Wall, down on the waterfront in Westport, County Mayo, is unusually personal: there are dishes directly influenced by her family, dishes from the places of her youth, dishes that have been triggered by precise experiences at precise times.

Chef's Signature: Karl Breen, Locks Brasserie, Dublin [video]

Karl Breen is a young chef who has worked in Ireland's best kitchens. Right now he has his name on the menu and has put his own stamp on the food in Locks Brasserie, where he has recently been appointed Head Chef. Here, Karl explains the complexities behind his signature dish of 12-Hour Octopus, Black Garlic, Calamansi Mayo, Tamarind and Salted Celeriac. It's a precise and delicate dish that shows a cook who is definitely in control of his art.

The Ballymore Inn creates a "congress of ingredients" writes John McKenna

“Because Mary doesn't do fish, I always have fish when I eat out”, said the crusty guy with the loud crusty accent to his crusty friend.
The crusty man was in luck. He was ordering fish in The Ballymore Inn, specifically the day's dish of hake with spinach and salsify. I was having the same, and I don't expect to have a better fish dish anytime in 2015.
The hake was translucently white, and it was as sweet as only the freshest fish can be. The spinach and salsify added notes of chlorophyll and starch, whilst a rich tomato sauce was underpinned with the sweetness of fennel.

Where to Eat and Stay on the Wild Atlantic Way - New Edition

Our measurement of the success of the Wild Atlantic Way, comes down to a very personal matrix: the first edition of our book, Where to Eat and Stay on the Wild Atlantic Way was a complete sell out. The success of the book brought us back to the West Coast, and the result is the 2015 edition, which, believe it or not, is fully 10% bigger than the 2014 publication. The energy that people have invested in new openings from Donegal to Kinsale is really extraordinary.


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