Michelin guide dishes up endorsements of 25 Irish pubs


FOUR PUBS in Mayo and Cork have been added to the latest Michelin guide on pub food.

Seventeen pubs in the Republic feature in the Michelin Eating Out in Pubs 2009guide to the UK and Ireland, published yesterday.

Northern Ireland accounts for eight entries, seven of which are based in Co Down. The Distiller's Arms in Bushmills, Co Antrim is the eighth entry.

Entries added since last year include three Mayo pubs: Crockets on the Quay in Ballina, JJ Gannon's, Ballinrobe and The Sheebeen, Westport. The fourth new entry is The Poacher's Inn, Bandon, Co Cork.

The Poacher's Inn is praised for its "winning combination of smart, comfortable surroundings and wholesome, home-cooked food" and "intimate upstairs restaurant, where cheery, attentive service keeps things ticking along nicely".

The Michelin inspectors found Crockets on the Quay, Ballina to be "a proper Irish pub, with a spacious, dimly lit and atmospheric interior". The guide praises the "fresh, hearty cooking . . . quality ingredients . . . plenty of choice . . . and ultra-friendly staff". JJ Gannon's in Ballinrobe has a "stylish, seductively-lit front bar" and the "fantastic selection of wines by the glass complements an interesting menu of modern classics".

The Sheebeen in Rosbeg, Westport, is described as "an attractive whitewashed, thatched pub" where cooking is "fresh and simple - everything is home-made, including the bread - with the more interesting dishes to be found among the large selection of daily specials".

Dublin is represented by just one pub - the Cellar Bar in the Merrion Hotel. The Clarendon Café Bar which was listed in the previous guide has since closed.

The Cellar is described as "one of Dublin's favourite places for lunch" and "a city institution all round".

Michelin inspectors selected 563 pubs, including 84 new entries, for their cooking.

The guide's editor Derek Bulmer said "the standard of cooking in British and Irish pubs keeps getting better and better.

"We are seeing a growing confidence in our culinary heritage, greater use of local, seasonal ingredients and a rediscovery of regional specialities."

The Punch Bowl Inn, Crosthwaite, Cumbria was selected as the Michelin Pub of the Year 2009.

A spokeswoman for Michelin said that pubs were selected for inspection in a number of ways. "Establishments can request a visit themselves, our readers recommend places to stay and eat and our inspectors also find places," she said.

"When we visit, we go unannounced, eat, pay the bill and then introduce ourselves. We do not like anyone to know we are going, as the experience may not be the same as other diners may have."