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Sally's blog

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

Oyster Gastronomy, by Mairin Ui Chomain and Micheal O’Meara (Artisan)

Two talented writers turn to the bivalve, and wring truly thrilling inventions from our national treasure. Ms Ui Chomain’s recipes are a joy – oysters in beer drop scones!; oyster and sausage bouchées – whilst Mr O’Meara’s scintillating recipes – oysters with pickled rock samphire and wild mustard flowers is his opening shot – represent a new benchmark for oyster cookery. Concise profiles of the guys who get the waders on all around the coastline to collect these treasures gives the book an added depth.

This year's International Cookbooks

Dinner, by Melissa Clark (Clarkson Potter)
We are devotees of Melissa’s food films for the New York Times, the most superbly conceived and executed food stories found in any media. So, it’s no surprise that the same wit, acumen and polish is fully present and correct in Dinner, a landmark book that every home needs. Every recipe we have tried works, and every recipe over-delivers: last night it was the Turkish lamb chops for dinner, and they were perfect. A beautiful production seals the deal: Dinner is the sort of book that makes you hungry.

Grow Cook

Grow Cook Nourish, by Darina Allen (Kyle)
The title alone is a significant new food koan, a life-long food philosophy summed up in just three words. Everyone debates just which of Mrs Allen’s books is the most essential – The Ballymaloe School Cookbook?, Forgotten Skills of Cooking? – but for us this is the one. Read our review...

Darina Allen’s life and work come together in a stupendous new book.

Formidable. There’s no other word that can do justice to Darina Allen’s new book, Grow Cook Nourish. This is a formidable work.
It’s formidable in scale – almost 650 pages – and formidable in ambition – the book is as much a gardening bible as a cookery bible.
But the most formidable aspect of GCN is that it manages to capture a life’s work.

Harold and Beth have re-birthed their landmark Cork restaurant, and the new Docklands is a beaut.

Running a restaurant takes some bravery. But changing an already successful restaurant to suit changing customer needs takes an even firmer type of valour.

So hats off to Beth Haughton and Harold Lynch for closing Club Brasserie in Cork last September and reopening it as Dockland.

The new room is really rather wonderful, with its parquet wooden floor, green leather banquettes, cleverly partitioned at one point by a colourful kilim, attractive bentwood chairs, and bar tables that look like oversized schoolroom furniture.

William Barry gets a taste of the Tipperary food revolution in M Ryan’s of Cashel.

Mikey Ryan’s bar and kitchen in Cashel was always likely to be excellent. Its owner, bloodstock magnate John Magnier, bought and renovated what was a defeated pub which has long had links to the equine industry. So, this was likely to be a very personal project. A sister property, the Cashel Palace Hotel, and which was previously owned by Magnier’s father in-law. is next door and is a work in progress.  

Samuel Colville McKenna meets with the magic in London’s uber-funky Sketch.

Sketch, in London’s busiest district of Soho, is not for those looking for a simply pleasing dining experience.

In fact Sketch takes on a fully immersive persona that will leave you wide-eyed-gawking at every design and culinary element they have to offer.

Created by restaurateur Mourad Mazouz and master chef Pierre Gagnaire, Sketch takes art, music, food and drink, and combines them into a true masterpiece. Even the bathroom design is out of the norm, and can be seen on the instagrams of celebrities like Kylie Jenner and Taylor Swift.

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