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Sally's blog

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

John McKenna gets happily lost in the intense “landscape cooking” of Galway’s Aniar restaurant.

At its best, a restaurant’s cuisine should act as a mirror of the place in which the food is produced, cooked and served.
The food on the plate should reveal the work of the people whose craft brings forth the foods you are eating. And it should offer you the sense of the place in which these people work.
The cooking in Aniar, in Galway’s West End, does exactly that.
Just as a quilt reveals its maker, Jp McMahon and his kitchen team unveil all the people whose efforts lie behind their work.

Eamon Barrett is wowed by the extraordinary patisserie in Kilkenny’s CakeFace.

You’d hardly expect a property finance expert and a chemical engineer to end up opening a dreamy patisserie in Kilkenny. But, with Laura and Rory Gannon, that’s exactly what’s happened in order to fashion CakeFace, their elegant café and cake shop in Irishtown, Kilkenny.

Laura may have started in property, but it wasn’t long before the call of the kitchen led her to Ballymaloe, where she worked with Rory O’Connell, and then it was onwards to France for both of them to learn the craft of the pastry chef, before stints at The Savoy and The Connaught in London to refine their craft.

Paul Cullen’s disciplined cooking in Rive Gauche meets with a truly madcap interior.

From French provincial cooking to experimental twenty-first century flamboyance in two starter dishes. That’s what chef Paul Cullen pulls off in Kilkenny’s funky-as-all-get-out Rive Gauche restaurant.
The French provincial bit is an Escoffier-type take on coquilles St Jacques, a dreamy delight of scallops baked with cream, Gruyere and pieces of crispy bacon, ringed with duchesse potatoes. It’s a classic dish from the century before last, and Mr Cullen delivers it perfectly.

Richard Milnes' cooking fuses the avant garde with the classical in Dillon’s Restaurant in West Cork.

There are 2 chefs to be discovered in Richard Milnes, of Dillon’s Restaurant in little Timoleague, in West Cork.
One is Richard Milnes, Modernist. This guy likes to throw curve balls at everything he gets his hands on. He reinvents brandade as a smoked haddock and salt cod creation, served with pickled carrots and tarragon. He gives the treatment to ham hock terrine by working some ox tongue in there to shake it up. The dude serves celeriac: as a steak.

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