Five Star hotels can be lovely places to be but often they suffer from a singular problem : the management are so proud of their property, they forget about the guests! It sounds like an obvious statement but all too often hospitality and that sense of a genuine welcome, not to mention actual service, are demoted to second place as managers preen about the plushness of the carpets.
Almost twenty years ago, we came up with a little formulation in an attempt to describe Irish artisan foods. Rather than focusing on turnover, the number of employees, the number of outlets served, and so on, we adopted a completely abstract matrix. Artisan food, we suggested, was defined by the Four P's:
Back in 1996, in the fourth edition of The Irish Food Guide, we included Bernadette O'Shea in a list of 10 people who changed the taste of Irish food.
Ms O'Shea, then cooking pizza in her Sligo restaurant, Truffles, rubbed shoulders with such luminaries as Gerry Galvin, Catherine Healy of Dunderry Lodge, Myrtle and Darina Allen, and Paul Rankin.
Two of Dublin’s craft brewers have just launched some new beers on the market, perfect summery tipples, in time for what can happily be described so far as a pretty decent summer. Caroline Byrne keeps up with the beer revolution.
In the publishing business, many chef's books begin as what editors call “confetti”. That is: the chef gathers up all his bits and bobs and notes and hands them to an editor, and it is the editor who makes the book.
Okay, so we could point your summer travels in certain sure fire directions as you head off on holidays – don't miss KAI in Galway which is excelling itself each and every day; don't miss Vasco in Fanore which is an archetype of the true WAW experience; don't miss Harry's Bar in Bridgend where chef Derek Creagh is offering incredible food at incredible prices; don't miss 1826 in Adare where Wade Murphy is on top form; don't miss Deasy's in Ring, just outside Clonakity where Caitlin Ruth and her team will blow you away; don't miss the chowder and the fried fish in The Long Dock in Carrigahol
Vasco is the Aleph of the Wild Atlantic Way, the one that contains all, the point from which you can see everything.
For a start, it's a smashing, coastside room that is filled with light: just walking through the door energises you. All the things you hope to find on the WAW – space; light; time; discovery; informality; the promising stop whilst on the road – all seem to be here in a space where Karen runs front of house and Ross cooks.
Our search for #BestSandwichInIreland brings us to a West Cork Classic: the Skeaghanore duck, Gubbeen cheese, red onion jam and salad sandwich from The Stuffed Olive in Bantry. Trish Messom and her daughters, Grace and Sarah, run this much loved café, where everything is made from scratch each morning, beginning with the bread for the sandwiches.
There’s a new hottest spot in Dublin for brunch and, unfairly, it’s in Ranelagh. Don’t they have enough ‘top’ things already? With Dillinger’s for top notch American style dining, Michie Sushi for the only show in town sushi-wise, Kinara Kitchen for the best casual Indian and Pakistani cooking you’ll find, The Butcher Grill for meat feasts, La Bodega for authentic tapas, Redmond’s for wine and beer, and Pinocchio for Italian wine and grazing at its most laid-back – can’t help feeling a little bitter about this Dublin 6 food haven becoming more haven-ey.
Chef's Signature - David Hurley is Head Chef in Gregan's Castle in the Burren in County Clare, on the Wild Atlantic Way. His singular and mature philosophy is beautifully realised in a classic dish of Lemon and Olive Oil Curd Tart with Blackcurrant, Lemon, Celery and Thyme Sorbet.