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Restaurant review: The Bishop’s Buttery at Cashel Palace definitely deserves its shiny new Michelin star

A truly lovely restaurant that gets the art of hospitality just right

The Bishop's Buttery
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Address: Cashel Palace Hotel, Main Street, Cashel, Co.Tipperary, E25 EF61
Telephone: 062-62002
Cuisine: Classic
Cost: €€€€

If I was a billionaire (still hoping there is time on that one), I’d like to think that I’d manage the money thing okay. Maybe skipping the millionaire stage is key, when conspicuous signs of wealth are rookie signifiers.

Still speculating, obviously, but the relaxed atmosphere in The Guinness Bar downstairs in the Cashel Palace Hotel – where banter and goodbyes to fellow imbibers as you leave feel like the most natural thing in the world – has me thinking this is just the sort of place for people who have moved on from London restaurant Bob Bob Ricard’s “Press for Champagne” button, which causes the sparkly stuff to appear, almost magically.

Figuratively, I’m ducking here as a baker’s dozen of €10 scones are hurled in my direction, in reference to a past furore over the price charged by the hotel for three small scones with butter and jam.

Please note, a pint is €6.10, cheaper than Temple Bar, but this bar bonhomie is how my evening starts before I head into The Bishop’s Buttery, which was awarded a shiny new Michelin star at the recent awards.

The owners of Cashel Palace, the Magnier family, undertook a lengthy restoration of the 18th-century Palladian manor, re-opening in March 2022, with millions spent in all the right places. It feels tasteful, resolved and quietly expensive.

The restaurant, The Bishop’s Buttery, which is across from the bar, is in a smart vaulted room with flagstone floors and generously sized tables cloaked in starched white tablecloths. It, too, feels relaxed. With a “hello” nod to the lovely young couple dining beside us, we decide to go for the €110 three-course table d’hôte menu rather than the €130 tasting menu.

You may want to call upon the largesse of a chum who’s had a good day at the races before flicking through the classic, predominantly French wine list. There’s quite a bit of love for Bordeaux with legendary vintages of Château Lafite Rothschild, but in the absence of an equine buddy, we go for the Maruxa Godello (€50), a Spanish white which works well with our dishes.

To me, amuse-bouches always feel like a free bite (which of course they’re not when you’re coughing up €110) and the joy is always heightened when they’re clever and original. Decorative tuiles, those filigree leaves and flowers that adorn fancy dishes and drinks, seem to be everywhere these days, but I had yet to taste one that had a role beyond texture and Instagram.

The squid ink and Parmesan tuile in The Bishop’s Buttery puts an end to my exhaustive academic research, a delicate bite of savouriness dotted with taramasalata, dill emulsion, candied yuzu, Sturia caviar and fresh dill. It is magnificent. A tiny tartlet of beef tartare and a gougère are also tasty bites.

To start, squab pigeon is deliciously rare, sitting on a bed of red cabbage with a rich earthy jus poured over. Irish scallops are glazed golden and draped with an opaque sheet of lardo, which softens with the heat and seasons the tasty bivalves. A purée of butternut squash, trompette and a lemon beurre blanc accompany it.

For main courses, wild sea bass has a crisp skin with perfectly cooked pearlescent flakes of fish. It is served with carrots and fennel and a vin jaune sauce which is split with a verdant dill oil. Wild Irish mushroom agnolotti are equally tasty, with celeriac, Parmesan and cepes adding to the rich, layered flavours of the dish.

A 20-minute wait for the roast chestnut soufflé for dessert provides a gentle break between the courses, and it arrives beautifully risen, the sides encrusted in nutty praline. The peanut cannoli is an even more spectacular dessert, a fragile peanut tube that has a nice hit of salt, is filled with a light peanut mousse, sitting on top of a chocolate mousse and accompanied by a truly gorgeous coffee ice cream. Petits fours round off our meal, a cannelé, a whiskey sour pâte de fruits and a chocolate truffle.

Culinary director Stephen Hayes is the chef behind this menu, which is executed with precision by a skilful team, led by head chef Stefan McEnteer and pastry chef Alessandro Attanasi. The level of quietly honed technique in the dishes is no doubt a reflection of Hayes’s experience, having worked in MIchelin three-star restaurant De Librije in the Netherlands and as head chef at the Michelin one-star House restaurant at the Cliff House Hotel. It is classic fine dining that shows maturity and avoids over-fussiness. This elegant restaurant very much deserves its new Michelin star.

Dinner for two with a bottle of wine and 10 per cent service charge was €297.

The Verdict: Precise delicious food in a relaxed room.

Music: Cesária Évora and background jazz.

Food provenance: Donald Walsh Butcher, Glenmar, Artisan Foods and Kilmanahan Organic Farm

Vegetarian options: Wild Irish mushroom agnolotti; vegan options include heritage beetroot salad, and barbecued carrot and butternut squash.

Wheelchair access: Fully accessible with accessible toilet.

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