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Sally's blog

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

Edward Joyce, The Mustard Seed

“I hear you bought a horse,” says John Edward Joyce to the jodhpur-clad man from Belgium who had just walked through the front door of The Mustard Seed.
That’s the thing about John Edward: if you’ve been out and about in County Limerick, buying a show jumper, he will know all about it.
It’s not just his instinct that gifts him with this skill: it’s a form of wise telepathy, a wisdom that let’s him know exactly where to pitch the conversational tent, every time.

Conrad Howard, Market Lane Group

Running a posse of restaurants is not the same thing a running a single restaurant. How do you manage to maintain the individual character of each destination, whilst at the same time sharing resources and staff in the hope of keeping costs down?
There are people who manage it, of course: Niall McKenna in Belfast; Jp McMahon in Galway; Ross Lewis, Erik Robson of Ely, Colin Harmon of 3fe.
But one of the finest restaurateurs in this regard is Cork’s Conrad Howard, who directs a quartet of the city’s best places to eat.

Russell Wilde, Richmond Restaurant

In Portobello’s Richmond Restaurant, Russell Wilde delivers a masterclass in the art of service.
It’s not just Mr Wilde’s speed, efficiency and charm that mark him out as being quite exceptional, however. It’s also his use of language.
“May I pour you some water?”, he asks, a phrase that manages to be both solicitous and authoritative.

Ray Moran, Soda & Starch

Bistronomie is one of those train-wreck terms that uses mashed-up language to give a name to a straightforward idea: if you want to explore and refine the roots of a cuisine, then do it in a simple, logical, straight-ahead way.
That is what Ray Moran and his team are doing in Derry’s Soda and Starch, a bistro-style room of muted charm where Mr Moran explores the gastronomic roots of the dishes he loves to cook, and does it without fuss or hoopla.

Mayo Wins All Ireland

It is ordained both by statute and by divine law that every food lover needs a good mayo to dollop on their burger.

But how easy is it to get a good mayonnaise? Start checking the labels in your store and you find that commercial mayos have a whole heap of stuff other than egg, oil and vinegar. And not only are they often full of weird filler, they are also terminally bland.

But don’t despair. In the nick of time, two ingenious and gifted artisans have rushed to our burger salvation, and created two spiffing mayos that are easily All-Ireland winners.

County Cork - Montenotte Hotel, Blairscove House, West Cork Hotel, Ichigo Ichie & Elbow Lane

Cork City
The Montenotte Hotel, Cork
You’re damned if you are going to be the last one amongst your friends to get to Ichigo Ichie to eat Takashi Miyazaki’s kaiseki menus, and you have also been hearing great things about young Aisling Moore, head chef at the city’s Elbow Lane restaurant.
So, time to head south. We suggest two things: first, stay at the Montenotte.
Second, book well in advance: getting into these two city centre rooms is as difficult as it gets.

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