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

O'Brien Chop House

O'Brien's Chop House, Lismore

The inimitable Justin and Jenny of beautiful Ballyvolane House are set to open a new restaurant in lovely Lismore.
O'Brien Chop House will be in the former Barça premises, and this beautiful old pub has been left well alone, so its charming original features will shine as you enjoy some smart cooking, using well-sourced ingredients. The end of the month is when the doors should open. For more details, contact Justin Green on 025 36349 or info@ballyvolanehouse.ie.

Is this the best cooking in Ireland?

Gregan's Castle

Apologies for the title question – the sort of thing that is the scourge of magazines and weekend journalism – but you don't even have to get very far into the series of dishes that forms Mickael Viljanen's tasting menu at Gregan's Castle in The Burren, County Clare, before you find yourself asking that very same question.
And when you reflect on the places that are operating at the same level of Mr Viljanen's achievement, the names that arise are L'Ecrivain, the now-departed Mint, Chapter One, MacNean House, and so on.

Some talking...

Slow Food Clare

John McKenna of this parish will be speaking at the second Slow Food Clare Festival in Lisdoonvarna this weekend, specifically on Friday lunchtime in the Pavilion Theatre in Lisdoonvarna, when the subject will be “Consumption with a Conscience” Whoa! Weighty stuff!
Let's hope McKenna doesn't tell that Homer Simpson joke again, the one that has died a million deaths on the last two occasions he has rolled it out to an unimpressed audience.

The Good News...

It's not all doom and gloom out there, as these brave restaurateurs in Dublin and Cork show...


Rodney and Audrey have just opened a new Sushi King on Dawson St. in Dublin 2. The new shop and restaurant is an evolution of the wonderful Sushi King take-away on Baggot St., and has the luxury of seats for SK customers so Rodney and Audrey can offer both take out and sit in facilities.

The Irish Times Healthplus

I am grateful to Grace Linehan and the charming pupils of Schull Community College 6th form home ec students who received me so politely and with such concentration when I spoke to them. Preparing my slogans for the class really did cause me more thought – and worry! – than anything I have done in recent times.

Elizabeth Field in Dublin

Many Irish food lovers will regret that Elizabeth Field, whose writing on Irish food proved to be so enlightening and enlivening when she lived in the city, has returned to the 'States to be a happy bunny, thanks to having Barack and Bo in the White House in place of the former criminally-inclined occupants.
Happily, Elizabeth was in Dublin for a few days a couple of weeks ago and managed to catch up on a few places for the Bridgestone guides.
Any wannabee food critics out there? This is how you do it...

GREEN NINETEEN

The Temple of Tempura in Tokyo

Tetsuya Saotame

A most arresting quote, from Nick Lander's column in last Weekend's FT, stops us in our tracks.
Mr Lander is quoting the chef Tetsuya Saotame, who has cooked tempura in Mikawa restaurant in Tokyo for the last 33 years. Mr Saotame says;
“I'm not frying, but baking in oil and my role when the fish is in the pot is to calculate the right combination of air, water and batter”.

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