Lord Bagenal Hotel

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John writes: A little note from the road. A night with the family at James Kehoe's svelte new hotel at the venerable Lord Bagenal Inn in Leighlinbridge, County Carlow. A glam new building, brilliant rooms and in The Waterfront restaurant, a great space for George Kehoe to show his stuff. Mr Kehoe has worked with some of the best talents in contemporary Irish cuisine – Aidan Byrne, Paul Flynn, Derry Clarke – and it shows: the cooking in the LB is top-notch, and even manages to pull off those molecular cooking elements – foams, savoury ice creams – that so many chefs get all wrong. The food is simple to read – carpaccio of Hereford beef, horseradish ice cream, beetroot pickle; strip of veal with smoked Gubbeen and potato gratin, peas and bacon, bearnaise sauce – but the impact of the combinations, right from a little taster of air-dried lamb with lavender honey - is simply stunning. This is some of the hottest cooking going on right now, and simply should not be missed.
Waterfront Restaurant 059 9721668.