Lobster and champagne lovers take note: The Marker Hotel’s popular “BubbleClaws” is back. Executive chef Gareth Mullins explains: “Pairing great Irish shellfish with champagne brings together world class food and drink – a perfect marriage of taste between Ireland and France! We love to champion home-grown Irish suppliers at The Marker and BubbleClaws is a perfect example of this.” €120 for two-person sharing email [email protected] or call 016875104; www.themarkerhoteldublin.com.
Wilde at The Westbury has just announced it is open for breakfast serving non-residents daily from 7.30am to 10.30am. It is a great spot for an intimate work meeting, catching up with friends and an indulgent treat. In addition to serving continental (€16) and Irish breakfast favourites (€17), signature dishes include chia pudding (with almond milk, toasted seeds and goji berries), bircher muesli, grilled kippers and pancakes with berry compote. I can’t think of a nicer place to start the day; www.wilde.ie.
Small, but perfectly stocked, Victualler & Grocer is FX Buckley’s new gourmet grocery shop, located next door to its award-winning steakhouse on Pembroke Street, Dublin 2. Victualler & Grocer has two entrances – the open butcher’s counter is connected to an impressive grocery stocked with artisan Irish and European cheeses, terrines, speciality butters, charcuterie, smoked salmon and fresh breads including its own Guinness brown bread baked daily in the restaurant. There’s also a selection of ready-made tasty pies for quick kitchen suppers. You’ll also find a copy of the family-run sixth-generation business’ first recipe book, Par Excellence – FX Buckley, with Katy McGuinness. This allows the reader to reproduce the restaurants’ signature dishes from starters to desserts, and from steaks to cocktails. To complete the “at home” experience, FX Buckley bespoke marinade sauces such as piri piri, miso and the secret family steak spice seasoning can be bought at Victualler & Grocer too; www.fxbuckley.ie.
The Hooked & Cooked Seafood Experience in the Donegal port of Killybegs, popular with day-trippers visiting the Sliabh Liag Cliffs, invites visitors to select their own fresh fish and preferred seasoning or glaze from local fishmongers, The Fish Stop, before taking their cook-bag to (newly-revamped) Hughie’s Bar, where it will be cooked, garnished and plated. This innovative seafood initiative is available all year round from Tuesday to Saturday and costs €15 per person; www.atlantictreasures.ie.
Overlooking Dublin Bay and a stone’s throw from Dalkey, Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel, Killiney, has just reintroduced its popular “Barbeque & Bubbles” Friday night soirees. Held on the lawn of the hotel, the rolling barbecue takes place from 6pm – 8pm every Friday, serving meats, salads and desserts, for €37 per person including bubbles. Guests can also enjoy a non-alcoholic drink option and there is a special child’s menu available for €20. Booking is essential, telephone (01) 2305400; www.fitzpatrickcastle.com.
Belleek Castle, the 18th-century castle located alongside the River Moy in Co Mayo, has received many awards for its food offering over the last few years. The Library Restaurant serves up extravagant dishes in candlelit splendour, while a more recent addition is The Jack Fenn café – perfect for lunch. Housed in the former 1820’s stables and coach house, the café is brimming with personality. Inside it’s all bare-brick vintage and modern hipster-chic, while outside there is a huge sheltered courtyard with tables for summertime dining. The menu features everything from brunch favourites to hearty soups and sandwiches. I’ve heard the mushroom and tarragon pancakes are very popular. There’s also cakes, tarts, and homemade scones, with freshly baked daily specials; www.belleekcastle.com.
The Farmhouse Café, owned by Susan O’Sullivan, (awarded “Café of the Year 2019” in the John and Sally McKenna Guide), has reopened with the addition of a deli counter and general store championing small Irish businesses and artisanal production. The Farmhouse Café’s main supplier is the O’Sullivan’s family farm near Enfield, Co Meath. With a reputation for produce that is unparalleled in both taste and quality, it is equally proud of its transparency in sourcing traceability. The café is also a proud participant of the Real Bread Ireland movement, and the aroma of in-house baking mingles with the scent of slow roasted Ariosa coffee – which has reached cult status with devotees. This female-run establishment is renowned for its affable atmosphere and lunch offerings. The Farmhouse Café is located beside the O’Sullivan Safety store on the Long Mile Road, Dublin, and opens Monday to Friday, 8am – 3pm; www.farmhousecafe.ie.
The Tap Room at Rathmullan House, Co Donegal is the clever conglomeration of three Donegal Businesses – the Kinnegar Brewery, Scarpello & Co, and Rathmullan House, idyllically located beside a Blue Flag beach. After walking up an appetite, the restaurant serves up stone-baked pizzas alongside local Kinnegar craft beers in a dimly lit, atmospheric cellar space. There are tables outside for eating alfresco, where diners can also see the huge traditional-style stone oven where the pizzas are baked. Try the Charcuterie pizza, topped with mozzarella, tomato, fennel salami, Gaeta olives, capers, and oregano. A true taste of the Mediterranean in a quaint, country house hotel in Donegal; www.rathmullanhouse.com.
Overlooking the ocean and Howth’s East Pier, the East Café Bar at the King Sitric, Howth is perfect for hungry walkers or those looking for a casual dining experience. Situated on the ground floor the East Café Bar is the King Sitric’s convivial, laid back brother. Its flaky fish and chips are legendary and all the more enjoyable when eaten out in the salt-tanged air on a bright sunny day. But there is much more to the menu, which is a celebration of seafood offering everything from fresh rock oysters (served Rockefeller, Bloody-Mary style, or raw for the brave) alongside mussels; buttery crab claws and Dublin Bay prawns; www.kingsitric.ie.
If you are venturing north for a staycation, then Northern Ireland’s “Eat Out to Help Out” scheme, taking place from Monday – Wednesday throughout August is a great opportunity to experience some Michelin-rated restaurants and great gastro pubs. If you are in Belfast, I particularly recommend Deane’s EIPIC, Mourne Seafood Bar, James Street and Novelli at City Quays (the restaurant at the AC Hotel, pictured). So many other restaurants, cafés and eateries have signed up, giving customers 50 per cent (up to £10 per person) off the meal. Diners don’t have to do anything to redeem it, the restaurant will take care of it all. For further information on participating restaurants across the province www.discovernorthernireland.com. I’ll also be recommending places to stay in Northern Ireland tomorrow on thegloss.ie.
And if you are looking for a new Chinese takeaway experience then consider Rice, which has a varied menu from delicate Cantonese cooking to fiery Sichuan delights, cooked fresh and delivered straight to your door. The menu aims to create restaurant-quality food that travels well and is great value. The latest opening in the Press Up family, Rice Chinese operates from The Lennox Building, 47-51 South Richmond Street, Saint Peter’s, Dublin 2, for collection and delivery only through Uber Eats, Just Eat and Deliveroo; www.ricechinese.ie.
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