Renowned chef Liam Kirwan has returned to Ireland to head up a new gastropub in the heart of Cashel, Co Tipperary.
Mikey Ryan’s is a charming 19th century pub situated a stone’s throw from the historic Rock of Cashel. After an extensive renovation, the pub re-opened in early August 2017. Liam Kirwan, a Tipperary native returned home to up the kitchen. Described in the London Evening Standard as a ‘well-travelled, energetic, imaginative, bread-baking chef with Irish antecedents’ and with over 20 years' experience as a top chef, Kirwan will bring his talent and creative flair to this project where we hope to combine all that Ireland does best; produce, pubs and passion. The concept for Mikey Ryan’s Bar & Kitchen is for a distinctly Irish gastropub with a cooking from scratch ethos and a focus on local, seasonal ingredients of high quality, organic wherever possible. The chef is well-suited to a project of this nature having worked in some of London’s most notable gastropubs including The Sands End and The Albion. Prior to this, Kirwan honed his skills working under great chefs such as Rowley Leigh and Jeremy Lee and later went on to serve as Head Chef in several of the outposts of the hugely successful Hawksmoor group.
Kirwan has spent time cooking in restaurants in Australia, New Zealand, the Caribbean and Portugal. Each of these experiences broadened his horizons and influenced his creativity, however it is his home county of Tipperary that is the source of most inspiration for him. He is passionate about the produce the county boasts and is keen to showcase it in his interpretation of local gastronomy. Developing a love of cooking from a young age, citing both his mother and grandmother as his food heroes, Kirwan hopes to emulate ‘the love that went into preparing food for our family’. This effort to reconnect with his roots was picked up on after his most recent stint in London, with the journalist pointing out ‘It is now his Irish soul that speaks’.
Kirwan is grateful of all the support and positivity the project has been met with and says of his involvement; “Mikey Ryan’s is a wonderful opportunity for me and I couldn’t believe how fortuitous the timing was. I had been planning to return to Ireland and was keen to base myself in Tipperary. There is a serious food community in this part of the world and everyone has been very welcoming. There is a sense that the county is becoming a destination in its own right and it seems there is a food movement spurring this on. At Mikey’s we’re already talking about developing our own kitchen garden and I’m excited to bring something different to the area.”
Working directly with local farmers and artisan producers such as Brookfield Farm Lamb, Crowe’s Farm with their award winning bacon, Annie’s Organic Farm for vegetables and of course Cashel Blue Cheese, Mikey Ryan’s will offer its local and international guests a ‘taste of Tipperary’. Reflecting the chef’s food philosophy, the menu is founded on the culinary principles of freshness, seasonality and a focus on quality ingredients prepared with care to enhance their flavour. Expect food that conjures up feelings of home, nostalgia and comfort but that bit more delicious. It’s not such a long way to Tipperary after all...
Photos by Shantanu Starick