You may be rethinking holidays this year and not venturing far from home. For many if the thought of a great meal out is your idea of a bliss, then our edit of Ireland’s best Michelin-starred restaurants will provide food for thought. The five restaurants are part of the impressive line-up of properties in Ireland’s Blue Book, which comprises country house hotels, elegant Georgian manors, stately castles, and contemporary boutique hotels. Ireland’s Blue Book Vouchers are welcomed at all the restaurants mentioned.
L’Ecrivain, 109A Baggot Street Lower, Saint Peter’s, Dublin 2,
Located in a courtyard setting in a Georgian mews off Baggot Street in Dublin 2, L’Ecrivain has been described as “a cornerstone of the Irish gastronomic scene for 30 years”. The contemporary interiors reflect the innovative menus which combine a classical French base with a hint of adventure and the best Irish produce. The extensive wine list features new and old-world wines from across the globe. Owned by the husband and wife team, Derry and Sallyanne Clarke, L’Ecrivain has held a Michelin star since 2003. For larger groups, L’Ecrivain has three private dining rooms; The Malt Room, The Salon Prive and the live kitchen, where guests can observe food being cooked and prepared and have the opportunity to interact with one of the L’Ecrivain senior chefs. Earlier this year, Derry and Sallyanne announced they were closing the restaurant, but it will now remain open until December 2020. If you haven’t been, it’s definitely one to visit before the end of a culinary era; www.lecrivain.com.
Lady Helen Restaurant, Mount Juliet, Thomastown, Kilkenny
Set within this quintessential Georgian country Manor house, the Michelin-starred Lady Helen dining room is a visual feast in all senses. The view is idyllic and the dining room posh, though not pretentious. Guests have a range of fine dining experiences – from a seven-course Tasting Menu, a nine-course Surprise Menu and a Table d’hôte menu all created by Executive Head Chef John Kelly. His forte is balancing a commitment to the traditional flavours and components of local Irish cuisine with the more adventurous instincts he has honed while working in some of the world’s most renowned restaurants. The result is something special and diners are always delighted with the details and extra surprises on offer. To mark a special occasion The Lady Helen provides an unforgettable fine-dining experience; www.mountjuliet.ie.
Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud, 21 Merrion Street Upper, St Peter’s, Dublin 2
Established in 1981, the two-Michelin star Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud is renowned as one of the best restaurants in Ireland and has enjoyed international acclaim for over 30 years. Situated in an 18th-century Georgian townhouse adjoining the Merrion Hotel in the city centre, it’s a bright, airy and elegant restaurant housing an impressive collection of Irish art and is managed by Stephane Robin. Discretion and decorum are bywords for the service, while the menus offer modern classic cuisine using the best seasonal Irish produce. There is a wealth of choice from a four-course Degustation Menu, an eight-course Tasting Menu as well as a la carte options. Chef Guillaume Lebrun’s signature dishes include lobster ravioli, roast Challans duck, coeur de guanaja and chocolate tart; www.restaurantpatrickguilbaud.ie.
Campagne, 5 The Arches, Gashouse Lane, Kilkenny
In search of somewhere fresh yet familiar which serves food with French influences, then Campagne is a relaxing dining destination which never disappoints. Located under the old railway arches on Gas House Lane, Campagne boasts a stylish interior featuring oak flooring, curved banquette leather seating and modern paintings depicting rural life by Kilkenny artist Catherine Barron. The restaurant was opened in 2008 by Garett Byrne and his wife Brid Hannon, and has been awarded many prestigious awards on a national and international level, most notably one Michelin star in September 2013 which it has retained for the past seven years. Campagne has a passionately held philosophy that supports and showcases the very best of quality food and wine producers; www.campagne.ie.
Photographed by Barbara Corsico
Chapter One, 18 – 19 Parnell Square North, Rotunda, Dublin
As the former home of John Jameson, located in Dublin city centre on the north side of Parnell Square, Chapter One retains authentic granite walls and sash windows and has been carefully renovated to create a sumptuous and comfortable restaurant. Creating this multi-sensory ambiance has been very important as the setting to showcase the food. Interior architect Maria MacVeigh has combined texture, colour and craft as well a Irish artworks to great effect (e.g. Kieran Higgins’ bog oak sculpture and Joe Hogan’s hand-woven baskets). This artistic flair is reflected in the food – a delicate blend of old style with innovative twists, with an emphasis on organic and seasonal ingredients. It’s no surprise Chapter One is one of Dublin’s leading restaurants having won numerous awards for both food and service. www.chapteronerestaurant.com
For further information on these and other properties visit www.irelandsbluebook.com.
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