Irish Chefs

Cake Pecorino Kleinedler

It’s funny how certain foods can transport me back to a very particular place in time, and how some of my fondest and strongest memories are tied to certain dish or flavour.

I remember a trip to Westport back in November 2010, which was my first-ever weekend getaway with my then-boyfriend Mountaineering Man. There are many special moments from that trip, including a failed trek up Croagh Patrick (we hit a storm about half-way up and had to turn around), but one that stands out is a tiny little meat pie called a pithivier – something I’d never heard of nor eaten before.


The little, enclosed pie was about the circumference of a 2-Euro coin, as it was part of a multi-course tasting menu created by Chef Seamus Commons at La Fougere Restaurant  in the Knockcranny House Hotel. The golden, flaky crust enveloped a bite-sized portion of tender, slow-cooked rabbit, and the flavoursome nugget sat atop a little swirl of fig reduction – another first for me. To this day, it’s the thought of that perfect bite that brings back all the other memories of that wonderous weekend.



It was a complete and pleasant surprise when I received an invitation to Parlour Games, a new pop-up restaurant in the Portobello area of town. The sender of the email invite was Ian Marconi, chef and founder of the Paella Guys, the mobile food truck serving up heaps of the beloved Spanish rice dish at various outdoor markets around Dublin.

Funnily enough I’d only tried the Paella Guys a week prior to receiving the invitation. It was a typically cold autumn day here and some co-workers and I trekked up to the Grand Canal Village Market for a lunch of comfort food. The steaming, hot plate of spicy rice mixed with chorizo, onions and peppers really hit the spot; after one bite, I understood why the line at this truck is always far longer than the others.


Ian’s new pop-up shows what this talented chef can do outside of paella. Shortly after arriving at the location, which we quickly learned was his own house, his lovely wife Lisa served us two kinds of crostini: one with slices of spiced, medium-rare lamb, the other with slices of tender pork. Both were exactly what you want in a canapé: the perfect bite, full of flavour with the right combination of textures. If these were an indication of what was to come, we were in for a treat.