Executive head chef at Ashford Castle, Philippe Farineau came to Ireland from his native France in 1998, falling in love with the country and “its wonderful ingredients”. His philosophy of cooking is simple: “French heart – Irish produce”. Here, he recalls some of his most memorable meals as a day of jet-setting fantasy dining.
What a great start to the day … heading to the Brentwood Country Mart for a fancy breakfast in LA. There, while sitting at the terrace of Farmshop, I ordered a beautiful version of the classic French toast. It was served with whipped crème fraiche, pistachio and tasty smoked bacon. I like mine to come with poached eggs too, and they were perfectly cooked, really beautifully done. It was probably one of my most luxurious breakfasts under LA sunshine, watching the world go by. brentwoodcountrymart.com
Le Grand Véfour, Paris
I was in Paris recently and decided to revisit the Jardin du Palais Royal, near the Louvre, where I booked a lunch for my wife and I at the Grand Véfour restaurant. I worked there about 25 years ago. The restaurant is one of the most beautiful places you will ever see, dating from the 18th century. The highlight of my meal was the veal fillet – rubbed with paprika, served with courgette cooked with capers and pine kernels and a citronella tomato juice. For my wife it was the strawberries and rhubarb on lemon shortbread. grand-vefour.com
Mirror Room, London
Executive head chef Amandine Chaignot is fantastic and her philosophy of food is like mine: exceptional ingredients from artisan producers, with a keen eye on seasonality and nature. This is a restaurant where the vegetables, herbs and flowers receive as much attention as the seafood and meat. The borage flowers served with a kombu-infused jelly, Devon crabmeat and seafood and lime is simply amazing. What a well-balanced dish. For dessert, I would order the rose and raspberry with freeze-dried lychee. rosewoodhotels.com
The Blind Pig, Dublin
An underground cocktail bar, tucked away secretly in Dublin’s city centre where Paul Lambert has created his very own speakeasy with an emphasis on great drinks and cocktails, a place that evokes the mood and the spirit(s) of the prohibition era. Definitely the best place to finish a great day. The Diamond Fizz – London dry gin shaken with fresh lemon juice, sugar, egg white and topped with bubbly is so classic and so great. Then again, if you prefer the new generation of Irish gins you’ll be pleased to find them available too. theblindpig.ie