Heather Flaherty is the ultimate It Girl in Builin Blasta, Spiddal

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

Sit down to have a chat with Heather Flaherty, and Ms Flaherty will quickly start to talk about how some people in the food business have "just got it"
“It”, of course, is not just the love of food, it’s not just the love of cooking, it’s not just the love of the pell-mell of service in a busy restaurant. “It” is the total, complete and utter immersion in the nitty gritty and the detail of the kitchen, the dish, the food, the space, the buzz.
And Heather Flaherty has got “It” too. And she puts it on a plate in Builin Blasta, her little restaurant in the craft village in Spiddal, in Connemara, with pizzazz.
Just look at her vegan spaghetti bol, for instance. It's a dish that could – and probably should – be a dog’s dinner. It sounds as appetising as a Linda McCartney vegetarian cottage pie.
Yet Ms Flaherty renders it as a modern masterpiece, a svelte, sexy dish of pasta and lentils cooked in a rich, umami tomato sauce that feels like you are eating luxurious, long-simmered meat, even when you aren't.
Close your eyes, and you are in a trattoria in Bologna. Open your eyes, and you are in a sweet little space on the coast of Galway eating a vegetarian spag bol. It shouldn’t work. But she makes it work.
She makes it work, because she’s got “It”.
Her baking has got it – we would walk to Spiddal for the cinnamon rolls – her sweet stuff is the very essence of it, and she is a huge talent working in a little room in little Spiddal.