This is a guest post written by Niamh Shields, better known as London-based food and travel blogger Eat Like a Girl.
The 17th March looms near and for much of you that means little but for me and many other Irish in the UK it is our national day, St Patrick’s Day. The day when we (used to) all wear green, a national holiday at home, and when all head to town for the parade. Every town and village has a parade. It is more a local thing, and a community event, originally centred around religion. It is a Saints day after all. Now it is a day where we celebrate Ireland and everything that means to us.
In my childhood we always wore green, big wet smudges of shamrock on our jumpers, and a St Patrick’s Day badge composed of green, white and gold ribbons and a little gold harp. I still love to mark it, I don’t need much of an excuse for a celebration of any kind, but as an ex pat, I keenly miss home every now and then, even if it just across the water.
These days I am more likely to head to one of my favourite Irish restaurants in London. Irish chefs are making their mark here, cooking some of the finest food in some of London’s best restaurants. Some of them have St Patrick’s Day menus and Irish dishes too, which makes it that bit more festive. The three I am going to recommend to you all have much to recommend them, and each have a very different approach to the food that they will serve on St Patrick’s Day.
Corrigan’s Mayfair from Richard Corrigan is a gorgeous space to celebrate. The food is excellent and they have an Irish menu all day. They will be serving a set menu with a complimentary Black Velvet and with live Irish music playing along side. The menu is deeply traditional with dishes like stuffed crubeens (pigs feet in Irish, and what we call them, lots of Irish words pepper our English still) with pickled mushrooms, Irish stew and Irish shellfish chowder. Sister restaurant Bentley’s will also be featuring Irish dishes like collar of bacon with cabbage and Irish apple tart with Jameson whiskey cream.
Robin Gill has hit the London scene hard, opening 3 restaurants in the space of 2 years with his wife Sarah, each with their own character and flavour. I love them all, and any will do very well for the day, but I would recommend you hit the flagship Dairy, and indulge in the tasting menu. Make sure that you get the home cured and smoked salmon with cucumber and fermented sorrel and Guinness soda bread. It is so good, and will be on the menu that day.
Pied à Terre on Charlotte Street may not sound like an Irish restaurant at first glance, but founding director David Moore is Irish, as are much of the kitchen staff and they always have an excellent St Patrick’s Day menu, with a twist. The menu features the best of Irish produce, including the wonderful hand rolled Abernethy butter from Northern Ireland, Sika deer, Kelly oysters from Galway bay and Irish cheeses like Crozier Blue and St Tola. Particularly exciting is the Irish pollan dish (a freshwater white fish with a short season) served with “bacon & cabbage”, seaweed and dashi.
Still hungry? Visit OpenTable to find the perfect restaurant for a St Patrick’s Day feast.