With travel restrictions lifting, and restaurants and hotels reopening from tomorrow, Lucinda O'Sullivan has drawn up her list of the 10 best places around the country to bring great food and fun back into our lives
Garrett Byrne and Brid Hannon of Campagne in Kilkenny never wore their Michelin star too heavily. They entered into the spirit of the lockdown similarly, with what Garrett laughingly called on social media 'Tommy's Takeaway'. Right now, they are getting things ready to reopen as normal from next Friday, July 3. By the way, Campagne is the only Michelin-starred restaurant in Ireland doing Sunday lunch. A cracker.
Overlooking the pier and fishing boats at stunning Ballycotton, east Cork, Cush is set in what was the former Pier 26, an old-style bar and restaurant. Since then, it has had a bucket of money spent on it by multi-millionaire Pearse Flynn, and with wonderful food, pictured above, by head chef Dan Guerin and super cocktails by James Walsh, it's definitely one for the visiting list. Cush has great seafood and also has accommodation. Reopening tomorrow, they are planning a possible takeout service, too, which is perfect if you're in a summer rental nearby.
Located in the Customs House in Baltimore, Co Cork, Dede is the hot new restaurant by Michelin-starred chef Ahmet Dede, former sous chef at the two-star Greenhouse in Dublin and head chef of the now closed Mews, Baltimore, where he achieved a Michelin star two years in a row. Dede will be officially opening its doors within the next week, but will also continue to serve meals to go and, as there is a deli as well, Dede says "takeout is going be here for sure". Think fab west Cork langoustines.
With a pedigree that includes Chapter One, and the former Restaurant 41 on St Stephen's Green, the food at Peter Everett's fabulous eponymous restaurant in Waterford, set in the former Wine Vaults, is always exceptional.Understatedly elegant and very good value for this level of cooking. They will be reopening as of Wednesday next, so if you happen to be passing through Waterford en route down south, the lunch here is an absolute steal.
Reopening from tomorrow, Galway's gorgeous Glenlo Abbey, a fab five-star hotel and estate on the edge of the city and on the doorstep of Connemara, is the perfect luxury base to explore the best of west. They are also continuing doing their great Glenlo@Home call- or click-and-collect menu from Friday to Sunday. So, treat yourself to a divine a la carte meal prepared by executive head chef, Dominique Majecki, plus wine, beer and baked goods too.
Tel: 091) 519-600, or see glenloabbeyhotel.ie
A little touch of the South of France here, facing the boats on Custom House Quay in Wexford. Paul and Edwina Hynes's La Cote restaurant, with its lovely nautical atmosphere, is known for its great seafood and other local viands. They're reopening the restaurant as of Tuesday next, but are also continuing with their really good-value a la carte La Cote Mediterranean takeaway menu, with mains costing approximately €9-€15. Try the penne pasta with prawns, shrimp sauce, and grilled courgette.
Rosslare has always been a great holiday destination, and Kelly's Hotel is right at its heart. La Marine, their more casual bistro, has been offering a superb 'food box' takeout a la carte menu, which is now available at Kelly's Deli in the village. It features great choices like barbecue chicken wings with a sour cream and chive dip; medallions of Kilmore monkfish in a spiced coconut sauce; plus a beetroot and quinoa burger. They've also reopened their cafe at Drinagh as a food and wine market.
Just off the M6 at Bullaun, Co Galway, and dubbed Loughrea's answer to D4, Lignum was one of the hottest openings last year, blowing foodies' hats off with its great fare. I was highly impressed, following a showcase of talent by chef patron Danny Africano, and nominated it as Michelin material. During the lockdown, Danny was doing Lignum a Casa, reflecting his Italian heritage, but is now planning to reopen in the second week of July. He's concentrating on the restaurant, and tells me they already have a lot of bookings, with many people travelling from as far as Dublin to eat.
Takashi Miyazaki's Michelin-starred ichigo ichie is re-opening on July 7 for the Japanese Star festival, Tanabata, doing his signature 12-course tasting menu at €120/€135. However, if you can't get a spot at this tiny 18-seater restaurant, or you don't want a 12-course meal, then check out his original Japanese takeaway on Evergreen Street in Cork, which is dishing out great food from Tuesday to Sunday. If you like Japanese food, this place is a cut above, with great sushi rolls and donburi rice bowls, onigiri rice balls wrapped in nori seaweed, plus delicious noodle and Japanese curry dishes too.
Tel: (021) 431-2716, or see facebook.com/miyazakicork
THE GLASS CURTAIN
Brian Murray's hip Glass Curtain restaurant in the old Thompson's Bakery on MacCurtain Street, Cork, proved a big hit when it opened just before Christmas, and I loved it on my visit. Brian tells me he will be reopening within the next week, but will also be continuing with the at-home menu. The menu changes weekly, but has had robata grilled lobster chimichurri; plus veggie options like barbecue jerk-spiced cauliflower. Orders can be collected and finished at home in a few simple steps, with Insta tutorials available. Great cocktails, too - hit the negroni in a jar.
Sunday Indo Life Magazine