Hospitality experts judge recovery to be under way
on 17/10/2012 00:00:00
Representatives of the best in Irish hospitality gathered at Bord Bia in the capital for the announcement of the 2013 Georgina Campbell Awards.
"Once again this year, we have found a surprising number of new establishments worthy of recommendation, especially in urban areas," said Ms Campbell who lamented the imminent closure of award winner, the O'Brien Chop House, in Lismore, Co Waterford.
The awards team saw a trend toward value-conscious informal dining, although they noted that "fine dining is far from dead".
Ms Campbell pointed to what she described as a "potential flaw" in the absence of a mandatory system of accommodation registration in the country.
"A significant number of businesses in the Republic, including some famous destination properties, are not recommended by the guide or considered for our awards because we do not promote unregistered accommodation.
"Unlike Northern Ireland just up the road - where all tourist accommodation providers must receive certification from Northern Ireland Tourist Board before they are allowed to begin operating - there is no mandatory registration system in the Republic. This situation needs to be addressed urgently, as it is undermining the efforts of registered businesses and could have far reaching effects."
On the changing trends in Irish hospitality, she said: "If I had to describe this year in one word it would be 'engagement', as the common theme that unites the best places, regardless of price or style, is the growing connection between local Irish suppliers, restaurant kitchens - and, ultimately, the customer.
"Increasingly, chefs are proud to champion local producers on their menus, which is brilliant; waiting staff are also becoming accustomed to explaining provenance to customers - although there is plenty of room for improvement in too many establishments."
Top award winners include The GreenHouse, Dublin (restaurant of the year); Ian Orr, Browns Restaurant, Derry, chef of the year), and Nancy's Bar, Ardara, Co Donegal (pub of the year).
Selection of Georgina Campbell Award winners
* Hotel of the year: Granville Hotel, Waterford, Co Waterford
* Restaurant of the year: The Greenhouse, Dublin
* Seafood restaurant of the year: The Oar House, Howth, Co Dublin
* Business hotel of the year: The River Lee Hotel, Cork City
* Wine award of the year: O'Brien Chop House, Lismore, Co Waterford
* Pub of the year: Nancy's Bar, Ardara, Co Donegal
* Family-friendly hotel of the year: Hotel Westport, Westport, Co Mayo
* Hideaway of the year: Moy House, Lahinch, Co Clare
* Atmospheric restaurant of the year: West End House, Killarney, Co Kerry
* Ethnic restaurant of the year: Michie Sushi, Dublin
* Café of the year: The Wooden Spoon, Killaloe, Co Clare
* Natural food award: Glenilen Farm Dairy Products, Drimoleague, Co Cork
* Country house of the year: Carrig House, Caragh Lake, Co Kerry
* Guesthouse of the year: Drumcreehy House, Ballyvaughan, Co Clare
* Hotel Irish breakfast: Dunraven Arms, Adare, Co Limerick