We don’t know anyone who chines and grills a better lamb chop than Kevin O’Sullivan, the chef in the Samphire Restaurant, at the Garryvoe Hotel, on Ballycotton Bay in east County Cork. Mr O’Sullivan knows all the tricks and techniques of grilling, and his grill technique delivers char and heat and succulence in abundance, so ordering the sharing board of meats should be a first choice when you find yourself sat down in a big booth in the happy, happening dining room of the hotel. Kevin O’Sullivan’s cooking isn’t the only special thing about the Garryvoe, however. The refurb of the restaurant has created a lovely space – informal; comfortable; inviting – and the staff here, under manager Stephen Belton, are as good as it gets. If you are lucky enough to have one of the rooms that faces out onto Ballycotton Bay, you pull the curtains back in the morning and inhale a mighty lungful of one of the finest views in Ireland, right across the bay to the island. And when that is followed by an excellent breakfast, again served by superb staff, then you know you are in someplace special, a place of special charm.
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