We don’t have any 3 Star Michelin establishments in Ireland.
Much as I think the French guide is an irrelevant way to rate restaurants, in a modern world of social media where every single customer is a potential food critic, I do love their original barometer for their star rating. The system's as simple as it gets…
1 Star: a very good restaurant in its category.
2 Stars: excellent cooking, worth a detour.
3 Stars: exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey.
Applying their logic, I wanted to introduce you to what should be Ireland’s only 3 star destination...
As you sweep out past Dún Laoghaire towards to Dalkey, you could easily blink and miss Glasthule. It's basically a sprinkling of shops on each side of the road, but to miss it would be one of the great travesties in the life of a foodie.
Stepping into Caviston’s restaurant or their shop is like walking into a real life Willy Wonka’s factory for savoury food lovers. Every direction you look you see stuff you want to stuff into your mouth, not caring who's looking or how fattening it might be.
I started in the restaurant which has been around for donkey's years, but which never lets you down.
Any chef that has the sheer naked confidence to serve sardines with nothing but lemon and parsley gets my slap on the back every time. Fresh, only slightly salty and the most wonderful starter. No need for gimmicks like Asian fusion or fermenting here, just fresh fish from the sea properly cooked and served up on a real plate. Not rocket science, but it's amazing how rare this type of cooking is these days in Ireland.
My turbot with new potatoes, samphire and prawns was another triumph.
The thing about eating in here is that it's all about the produce, it's the very best of the best. My turbot was brilliantly thick, white and fresh just as all fish should be. Again instead of any number of fancy side orders my new potatoes were perfectly cooked and the whole dish screamed 'Irish cuisine'.
If all our restaurants cooked like this, the Europeans would no longer laugh at our shitty food and instead hold us up there alongside the Italians and French as the best in the business. We certainly have the produce to do it.
This review isn’t about giving a notional three Michelin Stars to one venue though. Caviston’s is undoubtedly superb, but it's Glasthule that I want to award the stars to. As the guide says three stars should mean 'exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey'.
Caviston’s is nestled in the middle of some incredible foodie producers and restaurants, such as Butchers, who age their beef in front of you. Wonderful fresh veg suppliers. A spot that many argue is the very best Indian restaurant in Dublin. Some fantastic selections of wine. Hell, they might even claim Teddy’s which is only a couple of hundred yards down the road.
Nowhere else in Ireland could there be a tighter concentration of such amazing foodie delights. That's why I would suggest people drive from as far as Kilkenny, Howth or Blanchardstown to come here.
You can walk by the sea to build up an appetite, eat oysters and lobsters in Caviston's for lunch, lounge around drinking coffee and eating cakes, and then before heading home stock up on the best cheese, meats, veg and fish for home cooking.
Find a couple of foodie friends and either take a day off to do this right or plan it for an upcoming weekend. A pure delight.