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Sally's blog

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

Shu, Belfast

Brain McCann is the archetypal Belfast masterchef. Sally McKenna orders the salt and chilli squid yet again.

Brian McCann is a masterchef. As a cook, he shows that he really understands crispy, but he also understands silky, and crunchy and smooth and chunky as well. His food is so fine that you can’t see the process. You just get the best tastes, the best textures.

Cast & Crew, Belfast

Connie McKenna gets up close with Samson and Goliath and a fish finger sandwich.

Gourmet grub for truckers and builders is the ideal definition for this modern ‘Belfastonian’ shack, called Cast & Crew, restaurateur Niall McKenna’s latest culinary adventure in Belfast’s Docklands. 

Classic Menus – Shanks 1996

The late Robbie Millar was one of the finest culinary talents. Here are the dishes that made him famous when Shanks opened in 1996.



Cream of Fennel Soup “Polanise"

Rare Beef Salad with Fried Polenta and Roquefort

Smoked Garlic and Pancetta Risotto with Panfried Chicken Livers

Fresh Cod and Prawn Chowder with Truffle Oil and Chives

Tapenade Crusted Goats Cheese with Yellow Sundried Tomatoes

Roast Monkfish with Penne, Spinach and Smoked Chilli Cream


Enrich and Endure

You want one, and you know you want one. An E&E apron is just the business.

Founding brother and sister partners Lorcan and Sarah Quinn are the masterminds behind Enrich and Endure, along with their talented colleagues. So what can you make with six talented creators on the team, whose specialisations include rock climbing, yoga, photography, design, art direction, architecture and videography?

The answer is – Aprons. Of course. Aprons.

Lotts & Co, Dublin

“A mighty little shop with the best of everything.” William Barry grabs a basket and heads into Lotts & Co.

When brothers Barry and Paul McNerney, along with Julie Gill and John Byrne, opened Lotts & Co in a former car showroom on the South Lotts road they announced that the store would be a “Greengrocer, Butcher, Fishmonger, Deli, Rotisserie, Winery and much more all under one roof”.

Theatre of Food 2016

The biggest and best festival of the year is just 10 days away, and we’re already sorting out the tents and the blow-up mattresses for Electric Picnic 2016.
Two things have grown in tandem over the years as EP has blossomed: the first thing is the sheer size of the festival – when we first started going you wouldn’t have much more than 25,000 people at Stradbally. This year, the 50,000 tickets were gone in a day.

Wild & Native, Rosslare, Co Wexford

Eamon Barrett finds sublime seafood cookery in Rosslare’s Wild & Native.

Drive through Rosslare in the winter months, especially if Kelly's Hotel is closed for its winter break, and you might wonder what the attraction of this far flung village on the extreme South East coast is. A few shops and a beach - so what?

But in the summer, when the sand sneaks its way onto the streets and those same streets are teeming with life and the joy of people on holidays, it can feel a little like Ireland’s answer to the Hamptons.

The Heron Gallery, West Cork

Sally McKenna finds a sanctuary of beauty and beautiful food in deepest West Cork.

The Heron Gallery Cafe is one of those places that give West Cork its quirky gourmet reputation. The cafe is part of a shop and gallery curated and owned by artist Annabel Langrish and her husband Klaus. You have to go way west, past Ahakista, and up a hillside road to find it. It’s a culinary destination where the journey itself is full of fun, through characterful West Cork villages, only a breath away from the sea and Dunmanus Bay.


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