| 8.9°C Dublin

Chefs reach for top shelf as six restaurants keep Michelin stars

IRISH chefs reacted with delight yesterday after the latest Michelin guide showed six of the country's restaurants retained their coveted stars.

But despite a record 143 stars for Irish and British restaurants in the guide -- seen as the Oscars of the culinary world -- there were no new Irish entries this year.

According to Michelin, a single star indicates a "very good restaurant", two stars denote "excellent cooking, worth a detour" and three signal "exceptional cuisine, worth a journey".

Patrick Guilbaud, on Dublin's Merrion Square, remains Ireland's only two-star restaurant.

Cliff House Hotel, in Ardmore, Co Waterford, retained the star it first earned last year, joining Dublin restaurants Chapter One, L'Ecrivain, Bon Appetit, Patrick Guilbaud and Thornton's as only six Michelin-starred establishments in Ireland.

O'Dowd's Seafood Bar and Restaurant, in Roundstone, Co Galway, is the only new Irish entrant in the Le Bib Gourmand category, which recognises good food in value-for-money establishments.

A number of Irish chefs attended the iconic Michelin restaurant guide's 100 year celebrations in London last night

Among them was head chef at Cliff House Hotel, Martijn Kajuiter, who worked with the likes of Marco Pierre White before coming to Waterford.

He said: "I am so relieved and delighted that we have retained our star."

Oliver Dunne of Bon Appetit, in Malahide, Co Dublin, said he was very pleased, given the very difficult climate for high-end restaurants. The business had remained busy, despite the downturn.

Mr Dunne added: "My focus, beside the quality of the food, is always on providing people with a good night out, which is so important to Irish diners."

Derry Clarke of L'Ecrivain restaurant, on Baggot Street in Dublin, which has built a reputation for innovative Irish/French cuisine said: "We are absolutely delighted and it's down to the whole team."

Belfast restaurateur Michael Deane spoke of his disappointment after losing the Michelin star status, which he had had for 14 years. However, he said the news came "as no real surprise" after the Howard Street restaurant had closed for almost four months last year due to burst pipes.

Irish Independent