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Tom Spruce's elegant cooking will have you sailing the ferry over to Waterford Castle

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

There is something utterly other-worldly in the experience of enjoying the elegant cooking of Tom Spruce, in the timeless cocoon of Waterford Castle’s dining room.

Mr Spruce’s serene cooking, in these most gorgeous surroundings, makes for a special dining experience. And, of course, the fact that you take a short ferry ride over the water to the island to eat and stay in a castle does, indeed, make this an other-worldly event.

Mr Spruce manages to incorporate lots of modern culinary tropes into his food – there are scallops with chicken wings; there is uber-fashionable smoked potato with poached turbot; lamb rump is gussied up with anchovies; salt-cured foie gras has burnt apple – but it is his ability to make the dishes seem logical and timeless, rather than merely fashionable, that makes this cooking such a winner.

Every plate enjoys clean tasting contours, painterly balance and culinary authenticity, whilst the sourcing of ingredients is superlative.

And if you are planning a visit, do note that in addition to the rooms in the castle, the estate also offers some super-stylish apartments, just adjacent to the golf course, which make for excellent family accommodation, or if you are partying with a bunch of friends. Lovely waterside walks will work up an appetite for breakfast, and the only trouble is the fact that you won’t be looking forward to taking the ferry back to reality.

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