Campagne is a time capsule. Step in the door, out of Kilkenny’s Gashouse Lane, and you step into provincial France, circa 1976. This is the world of the Nouvelle Grande Cuisine, the world of chefs such as Bocuse, Senderens, Troisgros, Guérard, Chapel, the blokes who built the monolith of contemporary French cooking. In his restaurant, Mr Byrne pays tribute to their inventiveness, and his secret is that he does so without any sense of imitation, so Campagne food is real, not just a facsimile. There is terrine of foie gras and ox tongue with walnut purée; the classic crisp smoked haddock with poached egg and hollandaise; Challans duck with cep duxelle; wild rabbit with coco de Paimpoul beans; creme brulée with vanilla tuile. And it’s delightful food, ageless, and always a joy to eat.
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