Hot Press - - The Great Irish Food & Drink Adventure - WITH MARTINA O’DONOGHUE PRE­SEN­TER, CORK’S C103

I’ve been a vege­tar­ian since I was 14, so my list of favourite restau­rants be­gins with Par­adiso (16 Lan­caster Quay, Mardyke). It’s more of a spe­cial oc­ca­sion des­ti­na­tion, but I went there fre­quently in its early days and I can al­most chart a par­tic­u­lar pe­riod of my life by it, hav­ing cel­e­brated so many ups and downs in there. It was a rev­e­la­tion to be able to choose any­thing from the menu, in­stead of just scan­ning down for the few op­tions with the ‘v’ sym­bol. Vege­tar­ian food used to have a rep­u­ta­tion of be­ing quite grim, as if it was a penance to be a vege­tar­ian, but the food at Par­adiso is re­ally joy­ful: there’s an ex­plo­sion of avours in ev­ery mouth­ful. They re­cently won the ‘Col­lab­o­ra­tion of the Year’ award at the global World Restau­rant Awards for their work with the or­ganic Gort­nanain Farm, where they get all their food.

I also love Ja­cob’s On The Mall (30

South Mall). It’s beau­ti­ful in­side, very airy and bright. They have an ad­di­tional menu with just ve­gan op­tions which is great – it’s re­ally nice to see restau­rants strik­ing out to cater to specific groups of peo­ple.

Good Day Deli (Nano Na­gle Place, Douglas Street) is a must. It’s on the site of a con­vent, and there’s a mu­seum and grounds sur­round­ing it. But be­hind all of that, there’s a gar­den, and it’s like you com­pletely step out of the city, an oa­sis. That’s where Good Day Deli Cafe is. I went there for Sun­day brunch for my last birth­day and they had lots of healthy ve­gan and vege­tar­ian op­tions, quite a few of them or­ganic and fair trade too. T

There’s a street food café called Iy­ers (38 Popes Quay, Shan­don), which is re­ally quirky and does au­then­tic South In­dian vege­tar­ian food. It’s got great re­views, and for good rea­son. It’s amaz­ing.

In terms of food shop­ping in Cork, we’re very lucky to have The English Mar­ket (Princes Street), which is fa­mous in­ter­na­tion­ally since the Queen vis­ited when she came to Ire­land. ABC, the Al­ter­na­tive Bread Com­pany, is bril­liant and there’s an olive stand and lovely cheese stalls as well. That’s the go-to place in Cork for a mar­ket ex­pe­ri­ence. There are also farm­ers’ mar­kets like Ma­hon Point on Thurs­days.


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