Do the good people of Midleton know how fortunate they are to have Kevin Aherne cooking in their midst? First time visitors to Sage – and its simpler companion room, the Greenroom – are frequently blown away by both the philosophy of the restaurant – food sourced from a 12-mile radius – and by the intricate culinary manifestation of that culinary manifesto. This cooking is modern, technically adroit and delicious, the sort of thing you expect in Dublin 2 or in Clapham. But here it is in busy Midleton, and it’s superlatively fine: house black pudding with beech mushrooms; 40-day sirloin with wild garlic; hake with cultured butter; blackberry trifle with lemon curd. Best of all, Kevin Aherne enjoys his food: he is entranced by the possibilities of what he can achieve, but is never overwhelmed by them, so his food is pure, logical and fun.
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