KILKENNY

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - SEVEN DAYS -

Head chef Alan Fo­ley (for­merly of Chap­ter One) is turn­ing this fam­ily-run ho­tel into a gourmet des­ti­na­tion, about an hour’s drive from Dublin and two from Cork. In the tiny vil­lage of Bor­ris, the Step House Ho­tel is owned and op­er­ated by Cait and James Coady. The Cel­lar Restau­rant, in the old vaulted kitchens of the house, is the main draw, with a French ta­ble d’hote menu of­fer­ing two and three cour­ses for ¤36/¤40 – in­clud­ing air-dried beef with onion cream, and a pithiver of lo­cal free range pork from Sal­ter’s farm in nearby Fe­nagh, Co Car­low, served with pic­calilli and apri­cots.

In fact, much of the menu fo­cuses on meat: wild sikka deer, haunch of veni­son, Breck­land duck, shoul­der of milk-fed veal and Here­ford beef all fea­ture in the au­tumn line-up, while lo­cal fish comes from Goats­bridge Trout Farm, just across the bor­der in Co Kilkenny. Desserts are de­cid­edly French, with a black fig tart, a thick, creamy orange choco­late bavarois, fruit par­fait, and cheeses – although the se­lec­tion is Ir­ish, and in­cludes Cashel Blue, Milleens

ANOCHT

Kilkenny De­sign Cen­tre, Cas­tle Yard, Kilkenny, 056-772 2118, kilken­ny­de­sign.com ¤¤ Anocht has one of the best lo­ca­tions in Kilkenny city, perched on top of Kilkenny De­sign Cen­tre in the old sta­ble build­ings that once housed the horses of the Earl of Or­monde, who lived across the road in Kilkenny Cas­tle. To­day, in the oak-beamed, white-washed 250-year-old din­ing room, you can see the cas­tle to the front, and the Na­tional Craft Gallery to the back. The restau­rant opens on Thurs­day, Fri­day, Satur­day and Bank Hol­i­day Sun­day nights. The menu is sea­sonal, with lots of lo­cal pro­duc­ers, in­clud­ing High­bank Or­chards, Knock­drinna cheeses and Mileeven honey. Starters in­clude a de­li­cious foie gras with wild mush­rooms and Inis­tioge mar­row (¤8.50) and leek and but­ter­nut croguettes with a blue-cheese sauce (¤7.50). Mains are sim­ple but tasty, with beef short rib (¤21.50), duck breast glazed with Jame­son and Mileeven honey (¤23) and a

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