Ever wondered where your favourite chefs eat?
Chances are, when they’re not cooking in their own kitchens, they’re devouring something fabulous in a gorgeous little spot that only people-in-the-know visit.
These hidden gems are usually off the beaten track too, but well worth a detour on your travels this summer… look out for low-key celebs and TV foodies.
1. TOONSBRIDGE DAIRY
Where: Toonsbridge, Macroom
Now open once again for the summer, this working dairy makes luscious cheeses from local raw sheep and cows milk. You can stop by and stock up in the farm shop from now until late November, but for the love of god; do not leave without ordering one of their pizzas.
Made fresh, crispy and loaded with local ingredients in the Toons Bridge pizza oven, these bad boys are practically beyond comparison.
The pizzeria at the dairy is open Fridays and Saturday, 12.30pm – 4pm and 6pm – 9pm and on Sundays from 12.30pm – 6pm. You should almost certainly ring ahead to book a table.
2. O’MAHONY’S OF WATERGRASSHILL
Where: Main Street Watergrasshill
This family-run country pub has a serious reputation for exciting small plates (think Ballycotton marinated monkfish with orange tabouleh, plaice ceviche, Kilbrack squash bhajis…) that scooped them the Best Gastropub in Cork gong at the 2019 Restaurant Association Awards.
Open for over 200 years, these days the team serve their evening menu every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 6pm – 9pm, also catering for intimate weddings and parties on occasion.
The focus is on fresh, local and seasonal produce and interesting wines and beers that are fun to share.
Safe to say they’re nailing it.
3. MANNINGS EMPORIUM
Where: Ballylickey, Bantry
Mannings is the kind of place you stop for a bite to eat en route to your West Cork bolthole and leave with a full belly and arms laden with West Cork garlic, fresh brownies, local eggs and Gubbeen chorizo to stow in your caravan cupboards.
The deli sandwiches are a stonking great meal served from 12pm to 4pm and their wood fired pizzas are the best pie for miles around – the Four Cheese is a festival of aged Coolea, Durus, mozzarella and Kerry Blue.
Worth planning a weekend out West for.
4. LONGUEVILLE HOUSE
Their Sunday buffet dinners are legendary (you’ll find the lamb roasting over the huge Drawing Room fireplace), but once the days get longer there are even more opportunities for a ramble around Longueville House and a memorable meal.
The home of Longueville Cider hosts its Annual Orchard Blossom Walk, Talk & Cider Tasting Lunch on Sunday, May 19th, 2019.
Ably led by the owner of the property, William O’Callaghan, and Longueville’s Master Brandy Distiller and Cider Maker, Dan Duggan, foodies will be whisked off on a tour of the facilities before sitting down for a lunch of fresh vegetables from the Walled Kitchen Garden and Estate and a free range hog roast, all washed down with lashings of Longueville House Cider.
Their Midweek Early Bird on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays runs from 5pm until 6:30pm (sharp) at €30 for a main course with a choice of starter or dessert (call 022 471 56 to reserve a table).