Voilá – we have dining! Albeit – not indoor, for the moment. But for the restaurant-obsessed, the background clatter of cutlery and chatter of customers, whether out or in, is central to the lure of dining out. Dreams of raising glasses of perfectly blended cocktails, ahead of gorgeously prepared, made-with-care dinner fare, are coming true. We’d nearly forgotten how it felt!
During this Renaissance of restaurant dining, the possibility of finding a new favourite special restaurant is made all the more thrilling. Forgive us if, in our time away from restaurants and bars, we have become a little discerning! Only those spots that offer excellent fresh produce in their Irish ingredients, and honour exceptional culinary skill, can turn our heads now. So, the pressure is on to poach the right gastro-pub, if you will.
Speaking of poaching, we need a new drink order to co-star our chosen menu. The idea of a typical tipple, on such a big outing, doesn’t seem right. Earlier this year, Poachers Drinks were announced as the overall winner of the inaugural Tonic and Mixer Masters 2021 in The Spirits Business Global Masters Series. As Ireland’s leading premium mixed drink brand, they offer a range of stylish Irish drinks made with natural ingredients, that are lower in sugar. Made sustainably in Ireland, inspired by a love for our island’s native ingredients, people and culture, each drink in the Poachers collection is made with imagination, finesse, and a little fun. A Poachers apéritif might be just the ticket to accompany our dream meal…
So, how can you hunt down the establishments worth their salt? And, to that end – which tipples and dishes to order?
Sit tight, THE GLOSS has thought of it all – read our list below to find out where to book a table, and which cocktail to choose upon arrival…
dede | Baltimore, Co. Cork
Ahmet Dede’s Michelin-star eponymous restaurant stands out alongside its coastal neighbours in the Cork town of Baltimore, yet, at the same time, seems right at home. The talented Turkish chef has crafted a beautiful seasonal tasting menu that celebrates the produce of West Cork, with all the flair of Turkish fare. Dede has ensured that his simple yet purposeful style goes further than aesthetic – the kitchen has a sustainable, minimal waste ethical approach, and its outdoor dimension features an area for barbecuing. The star dish would likely be the lobster kebab with isot pepper, or the wild Irish venison with buckwheat and orange… wow. www.customshousebaltimore.com
Must-have cocktail: Order the 3 Sq. Miles Cape Clear Gin. Connemara whiskey, with chartreuse green, seaweed pickle juice, and topped with Poachers Citrus Tonic. Served with hedgerow bitters and dried kombu.
Aimsir | Cliff at Lyons, Celbridge, Co. Kildare
The heavenly countryside setting at the Cliff at Lyons provides a perfect backdrop for an outdoor dining experience. Pretty stone walls of what was originally a French village, and lush blooming shrubs bursting with hopping rabbits and wildlife, are home not just to the five star country retreat, but to double-Michelin-star restaurant Aimsir. Aimsir is all about honouring Irish produce, and its presentation in new and creatively luxe ways. Its menu is so uniquely and ornately curated, and exploding with taste. The chic bar with outdoor seating overlooking the Cliff gardens opens from 3.00pm, Wednesday to Saturday. It’s said that the must-have dish is Aimsir’s Dublin Bay skate wing with cornered leeks in chicken skin butter sauce. www.aimsir.ie
Must-have cocktail: Ask for the ‘Samhradh’ Cocktail – Meadowsweet and Wild Strawberries combined with Ornabrak Gin and topped with Poachers Soda Water. ‘A long and refreshing drink, best enjoyed with friends’ – Kevin Hegarty, Aimsir.
Wild Honey | The Burren, Co. Clare
Find room at the Inn in order to dine at Wild Honey this summer… The Wild Honey Inn is accommodating their residents for dinner, from 6.00pm to 9.00pm from Tuesday to Saturday. The Michelin star dining pub is located in a gorgeously restored 19th-century Inn, nestled in the breath-taking, sprawling Burren National Park. This is an Irish pub like no other – the dishes are seasonal, inspired by Ireland’s natural larder, and elevated by the skill of head chef Aidan McGrath. The star dish has to be the black pudding and foie gras with griddled apple, celery and olive oil. www.wildhoneyinn.com
Must-have cocktail: Order the Listoke Gin with Poachers Light Tonic, garnished with orange and rosemary.
Delahunt | Camden Street, Co. Dublin
The duality of Delahunt! At once both contemporary and classic, and now, both indoor and outdoor. The Victorian building in which Delahunt’s kitchen delivers its renowned menu contains upscale trappings that it’s become known for – marble tabletops, bespoke leather banquets and stained glass windows. In 2021, the restaurant expanded its space while retaining its style and classic furniture, in opening a new covered, heated terrace outside the restaurant. Its Dining on the Terrace Tasting menu features smoked pork neck with preserved lemon and marjoram. www.delahunt.ie
Must-have cocktail: Order Roe & Coe Whiskey with Poachers Ginger Ale, and garnished with lime.
The Green Barn | Burtown House & Gardens, Athy, Co. Kildare
Farm-to-fork lovers, book The Green Barn for your outdoor dining experience this summer. This Kildare restaurant, located in the historic estate of Burtown House and Gardens, allows its produce to speak for itself. Many ingredients of each of its offerings have been grown in their organic walled kitchen garden, polytunnels and fields. After dinner, take a stroll around the garden for a taste of authentic Irish summertime. The Green Barn’s oven roasted sea bass with cream of spinach, kale, fennel and dauphinoise potatoes is recommended as its star dish for dinner, but the Barn also offers brunch and lunch – check their website for details. www.burtownhouse.ie
Must-have cocktail: Order the Bertha’s Revenge Gin with Poachers Citrus Tonic and garnished with rosemary from their walled garden.
Chapter One | Parnell Square, Co. Dublin
Located in the former home of John Jameson, Chapter One Restaurant is located in Dublin city centre on the north side of Parnell Square. It is Dublin’s premier pre-theatre dining venue, and was awarded the Michelin star in 2007. A new venture, Chapter One by Mickael Viljanen, opens on Thursday July 8, and will accommodate outdoor dining – a new dimension for the iconic spot. Don’t do Chapter One by halves – enjoy the sublime tasting menu in all its glory, featuring organic black chicken from Challans with soft herbs, truffle, kohlrabi, parsley, and yellow wine sauce. www.chapteronerestaurant.com
Must-have cocktail: Order the Skellig Gin, 2-Week infused rhubarb, lemon juice, wild Irish rose syrup, Poachers Classic Tonic.
OX | Oxford Street, Belfast
Highly understated, highly modern, high quality – and high energy, OX in Belfast is a busy restaurant with a thoroughly cool vibe. Kick things off with an aperitif in their next door wine cave, where they also serve snack boards throughout the day. Their tasting menu offers scallop, dashi, pea and verbena with mussels, followed by salt-baked beetroot, Ballylisk, mustard, and almond, that are unmissable dishes. oxbelfast.com
Must-have cocktail: Order the homemade non-alcoholic gin with Poachers Citrus Tonic. Served with the first course of the tasting menu (scallop, dashi, pea, and lemongrass), as it ‘Pairs wonderfully for a citrus led aperitif’, says James Maddison, of OX Belfast.
West Restaurant | Barna, Co. Galway
You can find West Restaurant in the Westest-of-the-West Irish paradise – Barna, County Galway. Located in the Twelve Hotel,West is a modern take on a classic – a contemporary riff on a San Francisco-style club restaurant. Chef Martin O’ Donnell and his brigade cook contemporary dishes with a nod to tradition, and the results are second to none. You have to try the lamb loin with bean puree and eucalyptus scent – it is out of this world! www.westrestaurant.ie
Must-have cocktail: Order the ‘Linger’ Cocktail – Dingle Gin, Peach and lychee syrup, egg white, The Lodge Dingle Gin and Prosecco Mustard, prosecco, and Poachers Ginger Beer.
allta summerhouse | Slane Castle, Co. Meath
To honour the 40th year of the iconic music venue that is Slane Castle, Allta Summerhouse has opened on the banks of the River Boyne. A convivial dining experience cooked over fire, the unique pop-up restaurant’s set table menu will be cooked from the fire to share and will be open from Thursday through to Sunday over the course of the summer. It will be a ticketed series at €95 per person, available online for the first fortnight. Tables are limited to four, five or six, so bring your friends and family and take the time to reset and reconnect with those you have missed over dinner, drinks and music. alltasummerhouse.ie
Must-have cocktail: Try the ‘Vibes’ – housemade elderflower cordial, topped with equal parts Poachers Tonic with Irish Thyme and Poachers Wild with Irish Elderflower. ‘We wanted to ensure that we cater for the non-drinkers and designated drivers with a wide range of flavour forward non-alcoholic drinks including this gem with Poachers’ tonics’, says Alex Conyngham, of Slane Castle.
Poachers is available at poachersdrinks.com, in select retailers nationwide and in the best bars, hotels and restaurants in Ireland and internationally.
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