“Just Ask!” Restaurant of the Month for May - Dunmore House Hotel, Cork

The O'Donovan family's immaculately maintained hotel just outside Clonakilty has long been renowned for its stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, great hospitality and warmly modern classic style – and now it’s becoming a hotspot for local food lovers too.

Having been run by Mary and the late Derry O’Donovan since 1960, their daughter Carol Barrett and her husband Richard are now at the helm – and, together with some astutely selected advisors with long experience in Co Cork, the team is now firmly focused on creating a strong food story at the hotel.

Serving high quality locally sourced food is a point of pride and the extensive bar menus offered daily are just as interesting as the more formal meals (dinner, Sunday lunch) offered in the contemporary sea view dining room, Adrift Restaurant.

"A sense of place by the sea using the finest ingredients from West & County Cork" is how they introduce the bar menu and it pretty well sums up the food philosophy of the whole hotel.

You'd be hard pushed to find a better collection of suppliers listed on any menu - superb Hereford beef, puddings and pork sausages, for example, from MJ O' Neill's craft butchers in Clonakilty, which was established in 1919 and still has its own abattoir...also puddings from the world renowned Clonakilty Black Pudding Company, of course, and poultry from other highly respected and long established West Cork family businesses including hand reared Skeaghanore West Cork Duck from just outside Ballydehob, and chicken from Shannon Vale Foods which was founded by the O'Regan family when they arrived here in 1885. It is now in its fourth generation of management, although the business has moved several times and is now producing Quality Assured poultry and poultry products in a state-of-the-art unit in Clonakilty.

And then there is the area's wonderful fresh and smoked fish and seafood from Glenmar Shellfish (of The Fish Shop in Union Hall where, on any given day, there may be up to 25 varieties of locally caught fish and shellfish) and Sally Barnes's renowned Woodcock Smokery - and terrific organic seasonal produce grown by producers like John & Sara Devoy and Jonathan Doig (Narmada Organics), both near Rosscarbery...The list goes on, and it is magnificent - and it is well worth checking out the interactive supplier list on their website too, where there is a wealth of information. 

Better still, the menus match up to their ingredients, offering a wide range of both familiar and creative dishes to suit every taste and every mood. Whether it’s a light bite - the house version of Creamy West Cork Seafood Chowder, Baked West Cork Crab, or one of the DHH Speciality Salads & Veg dishes (using chemical free leaves from Radical Roots Farm) – or hearty mains such as the magnificent DHH West Cork Seafood platter (Union Hall prawns, dressed crab, Woodcock Smokery wild smoked salmon, DHH fish croquettes, steamed mussels, crispy monkfish & lemon mayo) or 30-day aged steak (with beer battered onion rings, Peppercorn cream, hand cut chips & root vegetable mash), it’s sure to please for its immediacy and the local story that it tells.

And, equally importantly, this family owned and managed is still renowned especially for its welcoming atmosphere and personal service – so it should be no surprise to find that returning guests make up a high proportion of their business.

Dunmore House Hotel Menus and further information on local suppliers can be found here.

Tel: 023 883 3352

Just Ask!” is a public awareness campaign that aims to encourage consumers when eating out to look for information on where the food (particularly meat) on their plate comes from, and encourages chefs to provide this information on their menus. The programme supports both large and smaller artisan suppliers, encouraging both Irish diners and visitors from abroad to support restaurants that are in turn supporting their suppliers. 

Here at Georgina Campbell Guides we have always been avid supporters of the ‘eat local’ concept, and we enjoy reading menus that have a real sense of place. The dining experience is greatly enriched by knowing that the food on your plate is inspired by the produce and traditions of the area, and sourced nearby – and we would love to see more chefs sharing that precious information with their guests. If you are a visitor to the area, learning a little about local food and the people who produce it adds a special extra dimension to the visit – and, for residents, it reinforces a natural pride in the good things of their locality and makes a meal all the more enjoyable. 

So, we are delighted by the high standard of menus that continue to be submitted for our ‘ “Just Ask!” Restaurant of the Month Competition’, menus that really speak of the best of Irish foods – and the dedication of both the people who make them, and the chefs who select them to create wonderful dishes with real Irish flavour for our enjoyment.




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