Michelin rewards our rising food stars
Three Cork restaurants secure accolade
A traditional pub in west Cork which was transformed into a fine-dining restaurant was one of three establishments to be awarded a new Michelin star.
Ireland recorded 14 Michelin star recipients, and a trio of restaurants from Cork were named in the Guide for 2019.
Restaurant Chestnut in Ballydehob in West Cork was listed alongside Mews in nearby Baltimore and Japanese restaurant Ichigo Ichie in Cork city.
Chestnut is a comparatively new establishment on the West Cork dining scene. Run by Schull-born chef Rob Krawczyk and his wife Elaine, the couple took over a former pub and designed a menu inspired by seasonal, local ingredients, provided by small, sustainable producers from the area.
Rob and Elaine spent a lot of time sourcing original restaurant tables, a selection of 1960s G-plan chairs, and some beautiful old English silverware and bone-handled knives, and they collaborated with a number of potters to create bespoke plates for Chestnut.
"We are a little shocked but totally delighted that we have won a star within our first year," chef Rob told the Irish Independent. "I'm thrilled for the team here. We are a tiny restaurant, with a small footprint but big ambitions and a huge heart, so this makes us all very happy. We are also thrilled for our friends and colleagues in Mews and in Ichigo Ichie who won stars too this year - we're in great company."
Baltimore's Mews Restaurant is founded on the principle of exploring Irish cuisine through a variety of natural ingredients that the region has to offer. It serves a tasting menu based on the best local produce that it sources directly from small farmers, market gardeners, foragers and local fishermen.
And Ichigo Ichie, translated as 'once in a lifetime', brings kappo-style dining to Cork.
Chef Takashi Miyazaki is behind the tiny Miyazaki restaurant on Evergreen Street, also in Cork's city centre, which opened in 2015.
Ichigo Ichie serves a Japanese no-choice food experience comprising 12 courses (€95) that changes with the seasons, with subtle variations from month to month
Mr Miyazaki said that the restaurant on Sheares Street was the "culmination of years striving for perfection".
Other restaurants that have retained their Michelin Star this year are the two-star Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud and the one-star Chapter One, L'Ecrivain and the Greenhouse in Dublin City and Heron & Grey in Blackrock village.
Elsewhere, other one-star restaurants are Aniar and Loam in Galway city; Campagne and Lady Helen at Mount Juliet Hotel in Kilkenny; Wild Honey Inn, Lisdoonvarna, Co Clare; and House Restaurant at Cliff House Hotel, Ardmore, Co Waterford.
In Northern Ireland, two Belfast restaurants - Eipic on Howard Street and Ox on Oxford Street - have also retained star status in the ceremony in London last night.
Speaking at its launch, 'Michelin Guide Great Britain & Ireland' editor Rebecca Burr said: "The inspectors have seen exciting things happening in Ireland this year and much of it in County Cork. There's a lot of ability in Ireland right now. As everyone knows, the produce is stunning and it's great to see chefs with such passion and personality in their food."
Four new restaurants last week received the Michelin Bib Gourmand awards, which recognise those establishments offering good food at affordable prices of €40 or less for a three-course meal. The newcomers are Clanbrassil House in Dublin, Tartare Café & Wine Bar in Galway city, Brownes in Tuam and Dillon's in Timoleague, Cork.