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Five New Michelin Stars for Ireland

Altogether a good night for Irish gastronomy. Earlier in the week I was speculating, with a guy I'd regard as a dedicated diner-out, on the possible gains (and losses). The outcome more-or-less realised our every expectation - and I wish I'd had a bet on Aimsir going straight to two stars, might have got good odds. The task now is to link the restaurants and the producers and devise a coherent strategy to turn Ireland into a great food nation in the eyes of the world. Onwards and upwards, hopefully.

FIVE IRISH RESTAURANTS ARE NEW MICHELIN STAR RECIPIENTS

– Two new Two Michelin Stars

– Three new One Michelin Stars 

– Northern Ireland has one new One Michelin Star

– Galway restaurant Loam wins Michelin Sustainability Award 2020

– County Limerick establishment Adare Manor wins Michelin Sommelier Award 2020

Two new Two Michelin Star and three new One Michelin Star restaurants are amongst 18 Irish establishments to have been awarded coveted Michelin Stars in the 2020 Michelin Guide Great Britain & Ireland just published.

The two new Two Michelin Star recipients are Aimsir in Celbridge and The Greenhouse in Dublin City.

The three new One Michelin Star restaurants are The Oak Room at Adare Manor in County Limerick; Bastion in Kinsale and Variety Jones in Dublin City.

Other restaurants that hold their Michelin Star from previous years are the Two-Star Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud and the One-Star Chapter One and L’Ecrivain in Dublin City and Liath in Blackrock village. Elsewhere, other one-star restaurants are Aniar and Loam (Galway City); Campagne and Lady Helen at Mount Juliet Hotel (Kilkenny); Wild Honey Inn, Lisdoonvarna (Clare); House Restaurant at Cliff House Hotel, Ardmore (Waterford); Ichigo Ichie (Cork City Centre) and two West Cork restaurants – Mews in Baltimore and Chestnut in nearby Ballydehob.

In addition, Loam in Galway was honoured with the Michelin Sustainability Award 2020, whilst Juri Goecevic sommelier at Adare Manor in County Limerick won the Michelin Sommelier Award 2020.

In Northern Ireland, Belfast restaurant The Muddlers Club (Cathedral Quarter) has been awarded a new one Michelin Star while two other Belfast restaurants – Eipic (Howard Street) and Ox (Oxford Street) – have also retained their Michelin Star status.

Speaking at its launch, Rebecca Burr, Director of the Michelin Guide Great Britain and Ireland, said: “This is an amazing year for the Republic of Ireland, with five new Michelin Stars being awarded – two of them at Two Star level. This brings the total number of Starred restaurants in Ireland up to 18 and is just reward for the determination of young chefs who are keen to make their mark on the Irish dining scene.”

Published today by tyre manufacturer Michelin, the Michelin Guide Great Britain & Ireland 2020 is available at http://travel.michelin.co.uk and in bookshops.

Blas na hEireann food awards 2019 – Donegal cheese voted supreme champion

Blas na hÉireann 2019, the Irish food awards, announce this year’s Supreme Champion as Green Pastures Donegal for their Green Pastures Donegal Soft Cheese with Burren Balsamics announced as Best Artisan Product 

Blas na hÉireann, the Irish food awards, announce this year’s winners of the 2019 finals which have just concluded in Dingle, with Green Pastures Donegal crowned Supreme Champion for their Green Pastures Donegal Soft Cheese and Burren Balsamics announced as Best Artisan Product.

Green Pastures Donegal, is a family run business based in Convoy, Co. Donegal, where they mix the tradition and craft of cheese making with modern technology to create a range of dairy products including their winning product, Green Pastures Donegal Soft Cheese. Championing a ‘Natural by Nature’ sustainability programme, Green Pastures Donegal work closely with family farms to advocate and support sustainable farming practices within their milk supply farms. 

Founded in 2014 in Richill Co. Armagh, Burren Balsamics set out to produce a range of fruit infused black balsamic vinegars. The initial range was so well-received that they developed a selection of white balsamic infusions and now have over 15 balsamic vinegars on offer. This is the second time Burren Balsamics have won the Best Artisan Product at Blas na hÉireann, having won in 2017 for their Blackberry & Thyme vinegar, this year they reclaim the crown with their Raspberry Infused Balsamic Vinegar.

Now in their 12th year, the Blas na hÉireann awards are the all-island food awards that recognise the very best Irish food and drink products, and the passionate people behind them. 

The biggest blind tasting of produce in the country, the criteria on which the product is judged as well as the judging system itself, which was developed by Blas na hÉireann with the Food Science Dept of UCC and the University of Copenhagen, is now recognised as an industry gold standard worldwide. Products entered are blind-tasted, meaning that all packaging and identifying features are removed from products before being presented for judging, creating a level playing field for products from both large and small producers. Judges come from a range of food backgrounds from chefs to restaurateurs, academics, journalists, authors, food champions, caterers and enthusiastic home cooks.

8.6/10

Michelin Bib Gourmands revealed

FOUR IRISH RESTAURANTS AWARDED MICHELIN BIB GOURMAND STATUS

Ireland records four new names amongst 20 Bib Gourmand recipients in 2020 Michelin Guide Great Britain & Ireland

Northern Ireland has one new name amongst six Bib Gourmand recipients  

Four Irish restaurants join the list of 20 Bib Gourmand recipients whose names feature in the 2020 Michelin Guide Great Britain & Ireland.

Michelin Bib Gourmand awards recognise those establishments offering good food at affordable prices.

The four newcomers are: Thyme (Athlone); Land to Sea (Dingle); Circa (Terenure) and Uno Mas (Aungier Street, Dublin).

Others, all of which retain Bib Gourmand status from earlier years, are 1826 Adare (Adare); Aldridge Lodge (Duncannon); Brownes (Tuam); Chart House (Dingle); The Courthouse (Carrickmacross); Dillon’s (Timoleague, Cork); Giovannelli (Killorglin); Kai (Galway City); Morrissey’s (Doonbeg); Sha-Roe Bistro (Clonegal); Tartare Café & Wine Bar (Galway City) and TwoCooks (Sallins).

In Dublin city, Clanbrassil House (Clanbrassil Street); Pichet (Trinity Street); Pigeon House (Clontarf); and Richmond (Portobello) retain their Bib Gourmand status.

Northern Ireland – six Bib Gourmand awards

In Northern Ireland, Balloo House in Killinchy, Newtownards joins the list of six Michelin Bib Gourmand establishments in the province.

Retaining their awards from last year are Clenaghans (near Aghalee, Co. Antrim) Noble (Holywood); Wine & Brine (Moira) and Belfast’s Deanes at Queen’s and Home in Wellington Place.

Announcing the Bib Gourmand awards, Rebecca Burr, Director of the Michelin Guide Great Britain and Ireland, said: “The eating out offer in Ireland just seems to go from strength to strength, and the new Bib Gourmands reflect this. They are really varied in terms of location, food and ambience, but are all producing very good meals with excellent produce. That produce is very often local, and it is really pleasing to see restaurants like Thyme, Land to Sea, Circa, Uno Mas and Balloo House flourishing.”

The Michelin Guide Great Britain & Ireland 2020 Guide will be will published on Monday, 7th October and will be available at http://travel.michelin.co.uk and in bookshops.

It’s worth noting that several restaurants – Bastible, Delahunt, Etto, Forest & Marcy, Pig’s Ear, Craft and Copper Hen have lost their Bibs. Copper Hen has closed and some of the others might – owing to increased overheads plus the recent VAT hike might have been eliminated under Michelin’s “value” rule. There is also the exciting prospect that some of them might be going the other way. i.e “star-bound”. We’ll know on Monday.

Chameleon closes

Saddest news I’ve heard in ages is that Chameleon in Temple Bar, Dublin, is closing at the end of this week.

Carol Walsh and Kevin O’Toole have, over the past 25 years, built up a little gem of a restaurant. But now, it seems, the herculean task of maintaining a viable city centre restaurant in the current economic climate has defeated them and, after exploring every possible avenue, Carol and Kevin have decided to call ‘time’.
In case you did not manage to get there, here are a few snippets from my earlier reviews of Chameleon, published here as a tribute to two wonderful, warm and companionable people whom I am privileged to regard as friends. Though neither has said so, I am privately sure they will be back ‘at the coalface’ anytime soon. Meanwhile, thanks Carol and Kev and good luck for the future.

“..long before Temple Bar became the hurdy-gurdy tourist trap it is now, Carol signed a lease on a tall narrow building in Fownes’ Street, kitting out the first floor with mirrored walls as a dance and aerobics studio and the ground floor as a vegetarian café to feed the neighbours, a motley amalgam of young fashion designers, artists, proprietors of vinyl record shops and comic book vendors. At some point, major restoration work on an adjacent building suggested travelling might be a good idea. In Indonesia, she fell in love with the heady aromas and perky flavours of the local cuisine. Back in Ireland, she opened Chameleon in 1994. The reason for the name isn’t hard to discern.”

“Commendably, there’s a good deal said about provenance on the menu – the pork, in particular, comes from rare breed Fermanagh black pigs. It also tells you that thigh meat is used for the chicken satay, sensible as it does cook better than breast for this purpose. “

“It is good value. We got by on €100 and could have knocked a tenner off by choosing a cheaper wine. The food is honest and tasty and nicely presented. Service was prompt and attentive all evening, without being in your face. Those with a grá for ambience will not come away disappointed. The night we dined there was the Thursday before the bank holiday when the capital, traditionally, empties. Chameleon was heaving, upstairs and down, and the atmosphere, electric. Dining there gives you the smug feeling that you’ve made the perfect choice for a night spent in Temple Bar. Walking back home it was hard to suppress a sneer at the heaving masses queuing for the dubious privilege of jostling for a rip-off pint and an earful of plastic diddly-eye.”

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