Simply the best ... top chef Gráinne O'Keefe recalls her most memorable meals abroad

Talented and well-travelled, chef Gráinne O'Keefe, above, has been a sous chef at Dublin's popular Pichet and Bastible restaurants. She currently rattles the pots and pans at Clanbrassil House, where her big-flavour dishes regularly kick the ball out of the park. Here, she takes us with her on a fantasy day trip of high-flying food and drinks memories.


DosTrece, Barcelona


I came across DosTrece by chance one morning in Barcelona and was very glad that I did. Situated in the El Raval neighbourhood, they offer a wide variety of breakfast and classic brunch dishes including eggs Benedict, pancakes and smoothies, while also catering for vegans. The pancakes – three large ones served with a sticky maple syrup and market-fresh fruit – were fantastic and could possibly feed two as the portion sizes are BIG! Their breakfast/brunch menu is served daily until 1pm while at night the restaurant turns into a lively bar with a stage downstairs.



Picture, London

I try to visit London as much as I can. I loved Picture, which had restaurants in both Fitzrovia and Marylebone, for a great value lunch. I went for the pork cheek dish served with greengage plums, fennel and endive – a great example of seasonal, fresh ingredients – cooked by chefs Colin Kelly and Alan Christie. The customer service, managed by Tom Slegg, matched the warm vibe of the restaurant. They also had a great selection of wines.




Wink, Amsterdam

We were welcomed into the beautiful Wink by a charming maitre d' in Amsterdam a few years ago. The kitchen is run by Natasja Postma, whose cooking and attention to detail was outstanding. Each course was cooked to perfection and beautifully presented. I had a celeriac and truffle starter, which was simple yet packed with subtle flavours that, when combined, made for a really beautiful dish.




De Locos Tapas, Ronda

Just over an hour from Málaga, the menu at De Locos was handwritten with each plate explained in detail. There were a lot of Japanese and Moroccan influences. We ordered a load of tapas accompanied by recommended wines and the bill was less than €50. In particular, the foie gras, or the smoked sardines, were amazing, but all the dishes were incredible here.


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