I lived in London for many years and have been a regular visitor ever since, but I don't think there's ever been a better time for eating out in the UK capital than right now.
And while London is home to some eye-wateringly expensive restaurants best left to the bankers and hedge-fund folk, it is also possible to eat well at prices that are on a par with those at home.
My number-one tip is to venture out of your comfort zone. If you tend to gravitate towards the West End, for example, hop on the bus or tube and head east, or to Borough Market, where the prices are (generally) lower, the food that bit more exciting and you're more likely to be able to explore trends and cuisines that haven't yet hit Ireland.
Dishoom (dishoom.com; £) and Brindisa (brindisakitchens.com; £) are mini-chains with several branches around London. Breakfast in either will set you up well for the day. At Dishoom, go for The Big Bombay, or the bacon-and-egg naan roll, while at Brindisa, the huevos rotas con sobrasada or chorizo on toast will put hairs on your chest.
Daylesford (daylesford.com; ££, above) serves an organic menu and is a little more genteel; it too has several branches around the city. The Good Egg (thegoodegg.co; £), with branches in Soho and Stoke Newington, does a fantastic Israeli/Middle-Eastern-ish breakfast and much more besides, while cool porridge specialist 26 Grains (26grains.com; £) in Covent Garden recently opened Stoney Street in Borough Market. If porridge isn't your thing, there's plenty more delicious food on the menu.
The axis of good eating has shifted in recent years - many of the recommendations here are for East London.
My absolute favourite is Rochelle Canteen (arnoldandhenderson.com; ££), located in the garden of a former school. It serves breakfast, lunch and dinner - lunch is my preference. Simple food, wonderful staff and reasonable prices, but it won't appeal to anyone in search of glamour - Rochelle Canteen is the definition of low-key.
Also in East London, Tomos Parry's Brat (bratrestaurant.com; £££) - famed for its magnificent sharing plates of meat and fish cooked over fire - and the wonderful Brawn (brawn.co; £££) on Columbia Road (where there's a great flower market on Sunday morning) are both highly recommended. You'll need to book ahead, but it's always worth checking for last-minute availability.
Beneath Brat is The Smoking Goat (smokinggoatbar.com; ££) where the menu is inspired by the street food of Thailand. It's very different, and also very good.
Both St John venues (stjohnrestaurant.com; £££) are a delight - more plain rooms and robust food. In Soho, the revived French House (frenchhousesoho.com; ££) is going through a wonderful period; drop in if you arrive in time for lunch on Friday, but it's not open at weekends. In Angel, the Southern French menu at Sardine (sardine.london; ££) will please all-comers, while down the road in Farringdon, the Quality Chop House (thequalitychophouse.com; ££) is another that never disappoints.
At the other end of Upper Street to Sardine, on Highbury roundabout, is Lee Tiernan's Black Axe Mangal (blackaxemangal.com; ££) - mind-blowingly good food served with a side order of pounding heavy metal. Just don't ask for the music to be turned down; you'll be asked to leave!
Two of Ireland's most well-known chefs, Richard Corrigan and Robin Gill, opened new restaurants in London in the past year. Gill, in fact, has opened two, but I haven't yet visited The Yard at the Great Scotland Yard Hotel.
Corrigan's Daffodil Mulligan (daffodilmulligan.com; ££), close to Old Street roundabout, serves hearty food at prices that are on the light side for London. Expect Corrigan's trademark oysters and seafood, magnificent game pie and plenty more besides; menus for groups feature sugar-pit pork racks and epic steaks. There's a bar and music venue downstairs, and I'd be surprised if you didn't find plenty of craic here over a rugby weekend.
Bentley's on Swallow Street (bentleys.org; £££), also owned by Corrigan, is another great spot where the focus in on seafood. It's more expensive and has an older vibe.
Gill's Darby's (darbys-london.com; £££), meanwhile, in Ballymore's Embassy Gardens development in Vauxhall, is a glamorous all-day venue that's also known for a top-notch seafood offering. Meet up with a gang for the live jazz brunch here on Saturday or Sunday and you'll have the chance to try dishes such as smoked Chalk Stream trout, poached Cacklebean egg, brown butter hollandaise with toasted sourdough and brown butter waffles with tonka bean gelato and salted caramel.
Oyster snacks, cocktails and pints are all available, and if brunch doesn't suit, drop in for a pint and half a dozen oysters for a tenner from Tuesday to Saturday, 5-7pm. The Dairy in Clapham (the-dairy.co.uk; ££) is another of Gill's restaurants, and very good it is too.
Hawksmoor (thehawksmoor.com; £££) may be a small chain - there are six branches in London, including one at Seven Dials that's fully wheelchair-accessible - but it doesn't feel like one. Don't even think about going to any of the other steakhouse groups, Hawksmoor really is a cut above in terms of quality of the food and service.
Be warned: You could get into a lot of trouble exploring the wine offering at Noble Rot (noblerot.co.uk; £££), a clubby, cosy restaurant in Bloomsbury.
Wines by the glass cost as much as £50 or beyond for something very special. That said, you could have a reasonably-priced - and delicious (do try the slip sole and smoked butter signature starter) - meal if you stick to the lower echelons of the list. Bookings are required for the restaurant, but walk-ins are on a first-come-first-served basis in the bar at the front.
Other good wine bar options are Quality Wine (qualitywinesfarringdon.com; ££), 40 Maltby St (40maltbystreet.com; ££) and PFranco (pfranco.co.uk; ££) in Clapton; you will eat well in all.
Who are we to disagree with Nigella, who says that Royal China Club on Baker St (royalchinagroup.co.uk; ££) serves the best dim sum in London?
Ireland doesn't have much of a dim sum tradition - volume is what's needed, and we don't have enough of it - so if you've always wondered what a proper, buzzy Chinese restaurant in the middle of a fully-fledged dim sum service looks like, now's your chance. This could be a good spot for a next-day post-mortem before you head to the airport. Great dumplings, buns… and chicken feet, if you're up for it. Expect to pay around £30 per head.
Padella (padella.co; £) is clearly the inspiration for Dublin's hit Sprezzatura, and where's the harm in that? Yes, the wait can seem interminable, but now that the restaurant is signed up to the WalkIn app, you can join the queue online when you're within a radius of a couple of kilometres without being physically present and go for a wander around Borough Market while you wait for a table to come free. Our favourite is the cacio e pepe pici, but really you can't go wrong. Great value.
Asian food in London is streets ahead of what's available here, so make the most of it.
For a cheap and cheerful fill of biang biang (hand-pulled belt noodles) with beef, potstickers, and 'special' burgers, head to Master Wei (masterwei.co.uk; £) in Holborn. What the place lacks in atmosphere, it more than makes up for in the deliciousness of the food.
Murger HanHan, on Sackville Street just off Piccadilly Circus (Facebook: Murger HanHan; £), has a similar offering and is also excellent. Liu Xiaomian (liu-xiaomian.co.uk; £) is known for its spicy noodles (particularly the version with pork and chickpeas); there are two sites, one in the Jackalope pub in Marylebone and one in the Holborn Whippet. Sambal Shiok laksa bar on the Holloway Road (sambalshiok.co.uk; £) is also excellent and cheap and the Saturday brunch is very popular.
Personally, I'd go for any of these over the conveyor-belt feel and cursory service that you get at the slick Din Tai Fung in Covent Garden (dintainfung-uk.com; ££), part of an international chain, although there's no denying that the dumplings are delicious.
For seriously good udon noodles, Koya has branches in Soho and the City (koya.co.uk; ££) and the Thai grill at Kiln on Brewer St in Soho (kilnsoho.com; ££) is another gem.
Meanwhile, in Borough Market, check out the Taiwanese food at Bao (baolondon.com; £) - there are other branches in Fitzrovia and Soho - and the Singaporean/Malaysian/Indonesian offering at Mei Mei (meimei.uk; £), including exceptional deep-fried chicken rice. Peg in Hackney (peglondon.co.uk; ££) serves funky Japanese small plates with all-counter dining.
Casa do Frango in Shoreditch (casadofrango.co.uk; ££) is a posh version of Nando's, serving great piri piri chicken, Ciao Bella in Bloomsbury (caibellarestaurant.co.uk; £) is an Italian with a smile that makes everyone happy, while Parsons (parsonslondon.co.uk; ££) is the place to pick when someone says "where can we eat in Covent Garden?" (Nightmare).
The food at Quo Vadis on Dean Street in Soho (quovadissoho.co.uk; £££) is outstanding (don't miss the smoked eel sandwich), but it can get expensive, so watch out. If you're staying anywhere near Stoke Newington, Jolene (jolenen16.com; ££) is buzzy and the food is good, likewise The Shed in Notting Hill (theshed-restaurant.com; ££).
In fairness, vegetarians will eat well in most of the restaurants listed here, but Bubala in Spitalfields (bubala.co.uk; ££) is one that they can really call their own - the vibe is Middle Eastern/Mediterranean (yes, shades of Ottolenghi) and prices are reasonable.
When there are arguments about where to eat, the new Arcade Food Theatre (arcade-london.com; ££), a seriously upmarket food hall located at Centre Point (just beside Tottenham Court Road station), has something for everyone.
You'll find fresh pasta from Lina Stores, great Turkish food at Oklava, Portuguese/Chinese fusion at TATA Eatery, steaks at Flat Iron Workshop, Japanese/Peruvian Nikkei style food at Chotto by Chotto Matte and tacos at Pastorcito. Everyone can pick what they want to eat and you can all dine together. Prices are reasonable.
NB: All prices subject to change/availability