The Turkish eggs in Cloudpicker, on Dublin’s Pearse Street, showed that Peter and Frank could pull eye-wiping deliciousness out of one of the capital’s tiniest rooms. A little closer to the centre of town, Eoin Cluskey’s Bread 41 showed a baker – and an entire team – at the top of their game, and the cruffins were beyond good. For the perfect Reuben, and the perfect banh mi, then Sonny’s Deli of Cork showed the art of the sandwich at its zenith.
Jane Russell’s sausages show the skills of a pioneering – and stubborn – Irish artisan, a producer who tenaciously gets better every single year. We got a first taste of Noel Leahy’s Sliabh Aughty hot honey at the Slow Food fair in Lisdoonvarna, and this is the impishly essential food for your store cupboard. And thanks to restaurateurs like Killian and Jess, in Howth’s barnstorming Mamo, razor clams found themselves elevated to superstar status, along with Crown Prince pumpkin, the autumn’s signature vegetable.
You may not know of Ben and Barbara’s WineMason company, but anytime you enjoyed a smashing German white or a brooding Portugese red wine in a hip restaurant, chances are this dynamic couple are the people who found that bottle first. County Kildare’s Aimsir bagged every gong going for food in 2019, but partnering the sublime food were the sublime non-alcoholic drinks concocted by Majken Bech Bailey, a whole new art form for Irish restaurants. And right from the moment that they got the doors of Variety Jones open on Thomas Street, it was clear that chef Keelan Higgs and sommelier Vanda Ivancic had their food and wine pairings in some sort of magical, blissful lockstep.