It’s no mean feat to keep a small restaurant serving Sardinian food alive and well in the little Leitrim village of Kinlough, for fully 21 years. But that is exactly what Piero Melis has done in The Courthouse, cooking his signature dishes for an ever-growing audience of admirers. Mr Melis has thrived thanks to his ability to cook the sort of Italian food that Irish people love – aubergine parmigiana; spinach and ricotta ravioli; crab linguini speckled with bottarga; – and his ability to cook these dishes with the particular eye of a native. But his riffs on Irish staples – shank of lamb with red wine jus; quail with champ; Thornhill duck with spinach – is no less impressive, and just as powerfully flavourful as his Italian classics. Stunning Sardinian wines from Mr Melis’ birthplace, and inexpensive rooms to stay upstairs, complete a compact, happy picture.
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