In my last Ireland-related post, entitled Ireland, I wrote about my food experiences during my 2 1/2 week trip throughout the Emerald Isle. I noticed the trend towards fresher meals, the utilization of organic and locally-grown ingredients, and the overall gourmet-ing of the traditional Irish diet. Not that I’ve ever been to Ireland before this trip, but the cuisine of Ireland never had much of a reputation, especially compared to, say, France and Italy.
But as a result of these progressive changes that obviously had occurred in the last couple of decades, my husband and I were treated to some Michelin-star worthy restaurant meals. Of course that didn’t stop me from the traditional Irish breakfast and my favorite – fish and chips. But it’s nice to have options, as well, when you’re traveling around. And with the glorious ingredients Ireland has to offer, from the vast array of fresh seafood to the multitude of artisanal cow and sheep cheeses, we were afforded unique opportunities for exceptional dining.
Case in point. In Dingle, an adorable community in western Ireland on Dingle Bay, there is an unassuming little restaurant called The Global Village. My husband and I went there for dinner, and had no idea that we were in for a culinary surprise.
The Global Village, which opened in 1997, is owned by chef Martin Bealin and partner Nuala Cassidy. From the restaurant’s website: “The restaurant board displays the local provenance; fresh fish from inshore local fisherman, fresh meat from farmers who operate a sustainable farming policy and the seasonal vegetables grown in the Global Village – chemical free vegetable garden run using biodynamic principles. The extensive wine list is complimented by a range of craft beers.”
Here is a photo of Nuala, who runs the front of the house with a smile:
It was a Saturday night, and fortunately we’d made reservations, as was suggested to us. Dingle, which attracts tourists partially because it’s one of the many live music towns in Ireland, gets quite busy on weekends.
I ordered the crab “trio” for my starter. It was beautifully presented. But presentation doesn’t get me all excited. The food has to also taste good.
Now this is all from memory, because when I begin a meal at a restaurant that I know is going to be life-changing, I feel as though I just came out of encampment… I lose my mind completely to whatever I’m eating. I forget to take notes, or to ask for a copy of the menu, if that’s possible. Nothing. It’s seriously like I haven’t eaten in a year. So I will simplify the description of this incredible crab starter, hopefully without upsetting the chef.
On the left is a warm crab bisque topped with crème fraiche. The middle is a light crab salad of sorts topped with a Parmesan sesame crisp. On the right, cold crab pâté, served with toast. I may not remember all of the details, but I know I ate everything. And I can’t remember what my husband ordered for his starter, because I didn’t care. Shame on me.
Then on to the main. I ordered the lamb. The plate included lamb sausage, lamb belly, lamb loin, and lamb liver, served over lentils, with a pommes anna sort of side and a little pitcher of red wine reduction. It was incredible.
My husband had a medium-rare beef filet that was cooked to perfection. On the side were some parsley’d potato mash, braised white radishes, and a beef cheek croquette.
Neither of us is a huge sweets eater, so we passed on what was probably a fabulous variety of desserts. But because of our enthusiasm for what was a 5-star meal in my book, we requested to meet the chef. And that we did! Here’s Chef Martin.
He just probably thought we were a couple of crazy Americans, but he was extremely gracious, and accepted our praise of he and his partner’s fine dining establishment in the little town of Dingle. I hope they’re awarded with a Michelin star very soon.