Katy McGuinness: The new restaurants and cafes you have to try in 2018
The restaurant opening that I am most excited about in 2018 is Una Mas ('one more') in a former kebab shop on Dublin's Aungier Street, the second venture from Liz Matthews, Simon Barrett and Paul McNamara, the team behind Etto on Merrion Row. Liz says that their new place will be 'vaguely Spanish' in the way that Etto is 'vaguely Italian' and they will be serving great jamon, whole fish cooked on the plancha and meats to share. Expect a serious wine and sherry list, and a great selection of gins.
If I lived in Cork, the opening that I'd be most looking forward to would be Takashi Miyazaki's ichigo ichie, a kaiseki Japanese restaurant pitched at the upper end of the market. Miyazaki's food is sublime, but until now it's been a question of sitting up on one of the half-dozen stools at his tiny place on Evergreen Street, taking the food home with you or buying a ticket for one of his pop-up diners. He is taking over the space that was until recently home to Fenns Quay and will be bringing Japanese food in Ireland to a level that we have not seen before.
Back in the capital, the arrival of the Ivy on the ground and first floor of One Molesworth Street, at the corner with Dawson Street, is another restaurant opening scheduled for next year. The original Ivy in London in the heart of the West End was a hit with theatre and film folk from the outset, and attracted a raft of celebrity guests, as documented in AA Gill's book-with-recipes. It'll be interesting to see whether Dublin's glitter monkeys, who have not really had a place to call their own since the demise of Town Bar & Grill, just around the corner on Kildare Street, come out to support the venture.
Speaking of TB&G, Temple Garner, who was the original chef there but has more recently been associated with San Lorenzo on George's Street, has joined forces with his old friend Conor Kavanagh (manager of The Old Spot) to take over what was Seapoint in Monkstown. Bresson (named after the photographer Henri Cartier Bresson) will open mid-January, and given the affluent area and the shortage of good restaurants in the neighbourhood (Lobstar is an honourable exception, and That's Amore is hugely popular but very small) this news is bound to be welcome. Kavanagh says that "it's casual fine dining, proudly French old school but not hand-cuffed by it … [and that they] are determined to bring back great old-fashioned hospitality". Sounds terrific.
Andy McFadden's new venture
Back in the city centre, Irish chef Andy McFadden (pictured above), who earned a Michelin star at L'Autre Pied in London, is taking over the space vacated by Kevin Thornton at The Fitzwilliam Hotel on St Stephen's Green. Before it was Thornton's, the restaurant was Conrad Gallagher's Peacock Alley, so it is a premises certainly associated with talented chefs, but it's a challenging space and it has taken the hotel a while to secure a new tenant. (The Greenhouse passed.) The name of McFadden's venture and other details are embargoed until the middle of next month (I could tell you, but they might kill me); suffice to say we can expect fine dining and that McFadden will be keen to establish himself and nab a star for his new restaurant in jig time.
What is it about Ballydehob? It's already home to the newly opened Nico's Street Kitchen, about which there are good reports, and come April/May it will see the opening of Robbie Krawcyzk's new restaurant, The Chestnut, a 16-seater in an old pub. Krawcyzk (pictured above) was last associated with Tankardstown, and before that the late lamented O'Brien's Chophouse in Lismore. Krawcyzk will be cooking over charcoal and wood and serving a no-choice menu.
John Farrell's new venture
Back in Dublin, John Farrell (pictured above) is closing Super Miss Sue and the Cervi chipper and replacing them with something new, as yet to be confirmed but knowing Farrell it's bound to be interesting. This change does not affect Luna, which continues to provide one of the most luxe and glamorous dining options in Dublin.
At Airfield in Dundrum, the long-term collaboration announced back in the autumn between Irish chef Robin Gill, of The Dairy in Clapham, and Luke Matthews, formerly of Mews in Baltimore, will see the opening of Overends restaurant in the evenings come the new year. Judging by the success of the Wild pop-up that the pair put on earlier this month, this is something to relish.
Niall Sabongi of Klaw plans to open several branches of the Urban Monger, a hybrid fish monger and fish restaurant, around Dublin over the course of the year. Sabongi is a seafood evangelist, and his enthusiasm is just what's needed to get us all eating fish rather than doughnuts.
Gary O'Hanlon of The Restaurant and Operation Transformation fame is leaving Restaurant VM in Longford at the end of January for a position as culinary director at Baxter Storey, an independent hospitality supplier. His replacement as head chef is Robert Groot Koerkamp, currently executive sous chef at The Cliff at Lyons.
In Graiguenamanagh in Co Kilkenny, Stephen McArdle - formerly of Stanley's in Dublin - has just opened Barrow's Keep, where he's serving a locally sourced menu featuring all organic vegetables that changes weekly.
Clanbrassil To Go
Next door to Clanbrassil House, Dublin, Clanbrassil To Go is a new cafe venture opening early 2018 that's part of the Bastible/Clanbrassil House stable, but a separate entity. Zia Burke is in charge.
Upstairs at Wood & Bell
Former Irish rugby international Keith Wood has partnered with Malcolm Bell to open Upstairs at Wood & Bell, in his native Killaloe, Co Clare. The executive chef is Paddy Collins and his menu is focused on classic, French-influenced dishes. All the herbs and most of the fruit and vegetables come from the restaurant's own gardens overlooking Lough Derg and managed by Keith's wife, Nicola Wood.
The Press Up group
The Press Up group is opening a new Angelina's in Hibernian Way, a three-storey cocktail and food venture on Aungier Street, more Wow Burgers (pictured main), and a number of yet unspecified ventures.