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Leslie Williams likes rose petals and citrus in the gin to pair with his crisp sandwiches.

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

Most Memorable Meals:
I ate in restaurants almost as many times as I cooked at at home this year but the following meals linger longest in my mind.
Tasting Menu in Gregan’s Castle in August, Lunch in Kai, Dinner at The Lodge at Ashford that same weekend, Graham Neville at Dax, a December impromptu meal at Pickle and my two meals at Heron & Grey - both of which were excellent but I slightly preferred my June meal.
 
Most Memorable Flavours encountered in 2017:

  • The Rose Petal & Citrus flavoured Gin I distilled at Listoke Gin School
  • Chocolate & Hazelnut Bar with Crème Frâiche Ice-Cream at Greenhouse
  • Wild Atlantic Way Surf ‘n Turf – (Connemara Lamb and Inishturk Scallops) at Renvyle House
  • The whole suckling lamb (or possibly two) that I ate at Bodegas Valduero in Ribero del Duero washed down with their excellent red wine.
  • The bio-dynamic grown tomatoes eaten for lunch in the garden of Gérard Bertrand’s house in the Languedoc (his many excellent wines are available in O’Briens).
  • The dozens of excellent Beaujolais Cru that I tasted on my trip there this year.
  • Samosa Chaat at Iyer’s Café
  • Pea Soup with Truffle Tortollini at Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud
  • The bread, salad, ling fish fingers and of course the cakes at Kai
  • Literally everything I ate at Gregans Castle on my two visits
  • Smoked Ham Hock Terrine at the Fatted Calf
  • The home-made crisps and crusty bread at Legal Eagle (for Crisp Sandwiches of course!)
  • The Roasted Pigeon with Veal Sweetbreads at Dax
  • The lobster and crab claws with chips and Hollandaise at Micheal's Mount Merrion
  • Kesari Kulfi Falooda with Pistachio, Saffron Verimicelli, Basil & Chia seeds at Pickle
  • Jerusalem Artichoke with Salted Lemon and Chervil at Heron & Grey

 
Drinks:
Given that I write weekly about wine, beer and spirits I have dozens of highlights so I will just pick five.

  • Rascals Brewing Strawberry Vanilla MilkShake IPA which combined oats, lactose and strawberry purée with hops freshness to create the perfect Summer drink.
  • Domaine Tempier Rosé 2013 from Bandol in Provence (Karwig Wines) with Steak and Chips in my garden
  • Maison Róisín Curley’s Beaune ‘Clos des Rouards’ and her Saint-Romain – stunning new wines with flair, subtlety, tension and silky elegance made by a pharmacist from Mayo!
  • Château Le Puy introduced to Ireland by Wine Mason – natural wines with the possibly the purest fruit I have ever tasted and matched perfectly at a dinner in Chapter One.
  • Champagne Charles Heidsieck – the best NV Champagne I tasted this (and last) year.

 

Best Takeaway and Fast Food:
Token in Smithfield for their innovative take on fast food mixed with vintage arcade games; Perpetual Best Burger award to Bunsen Burger, Sushi award to Miyazaki (obviously) and best pizza jointly to: Tiger Wood Fired Pizza Rathmines and Dublin Pizza Company Aungier St.

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