Sally's blog

Archive - all the best places to eat, shop and stay in Ireland. A local guide to local places.

This year's International Cookbooks

Dinner, by Melissa Clark (Clarkson Potter)
We are devotees of Melissa’s food films for the New York Times, the most superbly conceived and executed food stories found in any media. So, it’s no surprise that the same wit, acumen and polish is fully present and correct in Dinner, a landmark book that every home needs. Every recipe we have tried works, and every recipe over-delivers: last night it was the Turkish lamb chops for dinner, and they were perfect. A beautiful production seals the deal: Dinner is the sort of book that makes you hungry.

Grow Cook

Grow Cook Nourish, by Darina Allen (Kyle)
The title alone is a significant new food koan, a life-long food philosophy summed up in just three words. Everyone debates just which of Mrs Allen’s books is the most essential – The Ballymaloe School Cookbook?, Forgotten Skills of Cooking? – but for us this is the one. Read our review...

Darina Allen’s life and work come together in a stupendous new book.

Formidable. There’s no other word that can do justice to Darina Allen’s new book, Grow Cook Nourish. This is a formidable work.
It’s formidable in scale – almost 650 pages – and formidable in ambition – the book is as much a gardening bible as a cookery bible.
But the most formidable aspect of GCN is that it manages to capture a life’s work.

Harold and Beth have re-birthed their landmark Cork restaurant, and the new Docklands is a beaut.

Running a restaurant takes some bravery. But changing an already successful restaurant to suit changing customer needs takes an even firmer type of valour.

So hats off to Beth Haughton and Harold Lynch for closing Club Brasserie in Cork last September and reopening it as Dockland.

The new room is really rather wonderful, with its parquet wooden floor, green leather banquettes, cleverly partitioned at one point by a colourful kilim, attractive bentwood chairs, and bar tables that look like oversized schoolroom furniture.

William Barry gets a taste of the Tipperary food revolution in M Ryan’s of Cashel.

Mikey Ryan’s bar and kitchen in Cashel was always likely to be excellent. Its owner, bloodstock magnate John Magnier, bought and renovated what was a defeated pub which has long had links to the equine industry. So, this was likely to be a very personal project. A sister property, the Cashel Palace Hotel, and which was previously owned by Magnier’s father in-law. is next door and is a work in progress.  

Samuel Colville McKenna meets with the magic in London’s uber-funky Sketch.

Sketch, in London’s busiest district of Soho, is not for those looking for a simply pleasing dining experience.

In fact Sketch takes on a fully immersive persona that will leave you wide-eyed-gawking at every design and culinary element they have to offer.

Created by restaurateur Mourad Mazouz and master chef Pierre Gagnaire, Sketch takes art, music, food and drink, and combines them into a true masterpiece. Even the bathroom design is out of the norm, and can be seen on the instagrams of celebrities like Kylie Jenner and Taylor Swift.

Rick Le Vert’s brilliant Kinnegar beers take another step forward.

Kinnegar K2

Ever since craft brewers began brewing craft beers in Ireland, sceptics have insisted that these little Irish craft enterprises were doomed.

Despite the evidence from the USA, the U.K. and elsewhere that craft beers can capture a significant sector of the beer market, the doubters insist that Ireland is different. The big boys – Diageo and Interbrew – are just too big, they say. And away from the cities, country pubs are in decline and, anyway, the only people in Ireland who drink – young wans – won’t pay the extra for craft beers.

Grainne O’Keeffe brings the great traditions and dishes of the world to a little room at Leonard’s Corner in Dublin, and makes them her own.

No, but seriously, like.
What can’t Grainne O’Keeffe cook?
She can do the Cordon Bleu: roasted leeks and chopped egg (and a crisp of chicken skin, just to be contemporary)
The Deep South barbecue? That’s the homemade sausage.
The Toast Thing? That’s already a classic: her grilled sourdough with hot smoked trout. You would walk to Leonard’s Corner for that alone
The French Classic: chicken liver parfait served with toasted brioche and quince.
The New Nordic? Celeriac ravioli with hazelnuts, a pure beaut.


Subscribe to RSS - Sally's blog