Georgina Campbell Awards: Ireland’s restaurant of the year revealed

Lack of training, disappointing hotel standards and rising prices criticised at awards

Aimsir, at Cliff at Lyons in Co Kildare, run by head chef Jordan Bailey and general manager Majken Bech-Bailey, has been named restaurant of the year in the Georgina Campbell awards. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Aimsir, at Cliff at Lyons in Co Kildare, run by head chef Jordan Bailey and general manager Majken Bech-Bailey, has been named restaurant of the year in the Georgina Campbell awards. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

Aimsir, a 24-seat restaurant in Co Kildare serving a tasting menu created using only Irish indigenous ingredients, has been named Restaurant of the Year 2020 at the Georgina Campbell Irish Food & Hospitality Awards.

Cornish-born chef Jordan Bailey and his Danish wife Majken Bech-Bailey opened Aimsir in May, having spent more than a year planning it and renovating a stone cut building which was formerly a cookery school on the Cliff at Lyons property in Co Kildare.

Marlfield House in Co Wexford took the Hotel of the Year award. The country house property, run by the Bowe family, last year celebrated its 40th anniversary.

Finnish chef Mickael Viljanen of The Greenhouse, in Dublin 2, was named Chef of the Year, an accolade that was also bestowed on him at the recent Food & Wine online magazine awards.

Marlfield House in Co Wexford is Georgina Campbell’s hotel of the year
Marlfield House in Co Wexford is Georgina Campbell’s hotel of the year

Launching the awards, Georgina Campbell remarked on the contribution made to Irish hospitality by the late Myrtle Allen, and others of her generation, who she described as “the pioneers of the genuine hospitality, sustainable food sourcing and innovation that Ireland is gaining a reputation for today”.

However, she also warned about lack of training in the hospitality industry and disappointing standards, at the top end of the hotel market. “When carrying out our independent and anonymous assessments around the country, we have encountered disappointments once again, and particularly with some four- and five-star hotels, where there really should be no excuses,” she said.

“There is a worrying lack of a sense of hospitality in some cases and poor training– or indeed no apparent training at all – and it is baffling that there are still issues with standards at top establishments every year.”

Rising hotel prices were also flagged, and Campbell warned that Ireland was “losing the competitive edge that was so hard won during the recession.”

An award was also presented to Belfast chef and restaurateur Michael Deane, who was named Ireland’s Hospitality Hero of the Year. The Lodge at Ashford was named Ireland’s Pet-Friendly Destination of the Year.

Chef of the Year Mickael Viljanen of The Greenhouse in Dublin 2
Chef of the Year Mickael Viljanen of The Greenhouse in Dublin 2

Five food producers received Natural Food Awards – Carlow Free Range Chicken; Goatsbridge Trout Farm; Drummond House Garlic; Cashel Farmhouse Cheesemakers, and Longueville House Beverages.

GEORGINA CAMPBELL IRISH FOOD & HOSPITALITY AWARDS

NATURAL FOOD AWARDS (Poultry | Fish | Vegetables | Dairy | Drinks)
Carlow: Carlow Free Range Chicken
Kilkenny: Goatsbridge Trout Farm
Louth: Drummond House Garlic
Tipperary: Cashel Farmhouse Cheesemakers
Cork: Longueville House Beverages/Longueville Apple Brandy

B&B OF THE YEAR
Winner: Glasha Farmhouse, Waterford
Highly commended: Sheedys, Doolin and Fergus View, Clare

GUESTHOUSE OF THE YEAR
Winner: Perryville House, Cork
Highly commended: Pembroke Townhouse, Dublin and Teach De Broc, Kerry

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COUNTRY HOUSE OF THE YEAR
Winner: Ballyvolane House, Cork
Highly commended: Coopershill House, Sligo and Temple House, Sligo

STREET FOOD OF THE YEAR
Winner: The Garden Café Truck, Ballymaloe
Highly commended: The Hatch, Castlewellan and The Market Kitchen, Dublin

CAFÉ OF THE YEAR
Winner: Waterford GIY café
Highly commended: Country Choice, Tipperary and Kelly’s Café, Wexford

CASUAL DINING RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR
Winner: James St, Belfast.
Highly commended: Jacques, Cork and Dunne & Crescenzi, Dublin

ETHNIC RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR
Winner: Grano, Dublin
Highly commended: Ananda, Dublin and Wa Café, Galway

ATMOSPHERIC RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR
Winner: Overwood at Balloo House, Down
Highly commended: 1826 Adare, Limerick and Greenes Restaurant at Hotel Isaacs, Cork

HIDEAWAY OF THE YEAR
Winner: The Hideaway at Dromquinna Manor, Kerry
Highly commended: Newforge House, Armagh and Ardtara Country House, Derry

PET FRIENDLY DESTINATION OF THE YEAR
Winner: The Lodge at Ashford Castle, Mayo
Highly commended: Ardilaun Hotel, Galway and Warehouse No 1 Bistro & Café, Derry

FAMILY FRIENDLY HOTEL OF THE YEAR
Winner: Newpark Hotel, Kilkenny
Highly commended: Hillgrove Hotel, Monaghan and Killashee Hotel, Kildare

NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR
Winner: Killeavy Castle, Armagh
Highly commended: Restaurant Lady Anne, Kilkenny and No. 14 The Georgian House, Down

PUB OF THE YEAR
Winner: The Roadside Tavern, Clare
Highly commended: Tavern Bar & Restaurant, Mayo and Ballymore Inn, Kildare

WINE & DRINKS EXPERIENCE
Winner: Chapter One, Dublin
Highly commended: Paradiso, Cork and Sheridans Wine Bar, Galway

BUSINESS HOTEL OF THE YEAR
Winner: The Shelbourne, Dublin
Highly commended: Ballygarry House Hotel & Spa, Kerry and Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, Sligo

HOST OF THE YEAR
Winner: Castle Grove, Donegal – Mary Sweeney
Highly commended: Viewmount House, Longford – Beryl Kearney and Glen House, Donegal – Sonia McGonigle

OUTSTANDING GUEST EXPERIENCE
Winner: Inis Meáin Restaurant & Suites, Galway
Highly commended: BrookLodge & Macreddin Village, Wicklow and Quay House, Galway

SEAFOOD RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR
Winner: King Sitric Fish Restaurant & Accommodation and East Café Bar, Dublin
Highly commended: Eithna’s By the Sea, Sligo and Vaughans Anchor Inn, Clare

A TASTE OF THE WATERWAYS AWARD
Winner: Wineport Lodge, Westmeath
Highly commended: The Cottage, Leitrim and Larkins, Tipperary

“JUST ASK” RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR AWARD 
Winner:  The Wilds Enniscorthy, Wexford
Highly commended: Flanagan’s Gastro Pub, Mayo and Dunmore House Hotel, Cork

‘TASTE THE ISLAND’ INNOVATION AWARD 
Winner: Tartare, Galway
Highly commended: W8 Centre & Osta@W8, Leitrim and Killary Lodge & The Misunderstood Heron, Galway

CHEF OF THE YEAR
Winner: Mickael Viljanen, The Greenhouse, Dublin
Highly commended: Andy McFadden, Glover’s Alley, Dublin and Stephen Toman, OX, Belfast

RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR
Winner: Aimsir, Kildare
Highly commended: MacNean House & Restaurant, Cavan and Liath, Dublin

HOTEL OF THE YEAR
Winner: Marlfield House Hotel, Wexford
Highly commended: No. 1 Pery Square, Limerick and Castle Leslie, Monaghan

GEORGINA CAMPBELL ‘HOSPITALITY HERO’ AWARD
Winner: Michael Deane

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