Dillons of Timoleague
There are 2 chefs to be discovered in the cooking of Richard Milnes, of Dillon’s Restaurant, in pretty little Timoleague, in West Cork.
One is Richard Milnes, Modernist. This guy likes to throw curve balls at everything he gets his hands on. He reinvents brandade as a smoked haddock and salt cod creation, served with pickled carrots and tarragon. He gives the treatment to ham hock terrine by working some ox tongue in there to shake it up. This version of the dude serves celeriac: as a steak. You could drop him into the centre of Copenhagen, and he’d be right at home.
Then there is Richard Milnes, Classicist. This version of the dude makes a dish of pork belly with lentils as if he had learnt it straight from Fernand Point back in the ’50‘s. He will send out a black Angus sirloin with garlic butter as if we were still in the days of Escoffier, or serve mashed potatoes in the style of that old Cordon Bleu classic: duchesse potatoes. You could drop him into the centre of Lyon, and he’d be right at home.
Mr Milnes' singular achievement is to unite these two dudes, and to bring their work together, without any tension whatsoever. The food he is cooking in Dillon’s, a simple yet legendary West Cork space, is so seamlessly wrought and elegant that he makes everyone else look like they are trying too hard. His food is modest, yet plosive with flavour, and quietly seductive.
Meantime, Antje Gesche runs front of house in this lovely, comfortable room, and does so with effortless professionalism and panache, making Dillon's another star turn on the Wild Atlantic Way, and one of the superstar destinations of West Cork.
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