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Image / Living / Food & Drink

Sarah Hanrahan of I Come Undone on comfort food, favourite meals, and exploring Ireland with the enthusiasm of a tourist


By Sarah Gill
22nd Oct 2022
Sarah Hanrahan of I Come Undone on comfort food, favourite meals, and exploring Ireland with the enthusiasm of a tourist

For the first instalment of a new series focusing on all things food related, we caught up with Sarah Hanrahan of I Come Undone to chat about everything from her earliest memories of food to the secret ingredients of the ultimate dining experience.

If you’re not already following Sarah Hanrahan of I Come Undone on Instagram, you’re sorely missing out. A true connoisseur of the Irish food scene, Sarah keeps her finger on the pulse of Dublin culture through recommendations, spreading the word of new openings, and just generally taking the effort out of planning a night on the town.

From creating weekly Dublin event guides on her blog to becoming Ireland’s leading experience planner, Sarah has a knack for crafting the perfect tailor-made Irish getaway for those eager to explore.

She’s got highlights divided by county and cuisine, so whether you’ve found yourself on a weekend away in Achill, or are in the mood for some Mexican fare, you know there’ll be a series of stories and recommendations ready and waiting.

So naturally, we had to pick her brain on absolutely everything foodie related. From her own self-proclaimed chronic cooking skills to her ‘compliments to the chef’ in her life, read it all below…


i come undone

What are your earliest memories of food?

My first ever memory is centred around food and animals, two of my greatest loves! I was trying to pet a flamingo through a fence at the zoo while precariously grasping a chocolate bar in the other hand. The flamingo reached its neck past my outstretched petting hand to grab the bar in my other hand and I was left bamboozled and chocolate-less at the other side of the fence.

How would you describe your relationship with food?

Absolutely excellent thankfully, something I know I’m very lucky to be able to say as a woman growing up surrounded by magazine covers blasting size 8 women for being ‘fat’. I’ve never been on a fad diet and I don’t restrict any foods… if I want it I’ll just have it and then a fixation doesn’t develop. My background is in psychiatric nursing so I understand that disordered eating is a lot more complex than that but I know I’m fortunate to be able to consume foods guilt-free.

What was the first meal you learned to cook?

Oh, I’m actually a chronic cook! My mom is amazing and my husband is amazing so I’ve been surrounded by excellent home cooked food without having to contribute to it. I definitely remember living off my teenage staple dish of pasta, jarred pasta sauce and sausages but that’s about as far as my culinary skills ever developed.

How did food become a part of your personal brand?

I’ve always been super passionate about exploring Ireland with the enthusiasm of a tourist and of course part of that is uncovering exciting food offerings. I create content around Irish travel and Dublin culture so sharing exciting restaurants is a natural part of that; a research element I thoroughly enjoy!

What’s your go-to breakfast?

Porridge mid-week with oat milk and honey from my parent’s hives. At the weekend, it’s usually more of a brunch-style dish.

If you’re impressing friends and family at a dinner party, what are you serving up?

Drinks! My husband built an incredible pizza oven in our garden during lockdown so we adore having friends over during the warmer months to entertain with beautiful homemade pizzas. Sean wows with the food while I make sure the drinks and tunes are flowing.

What would your last meal on earth be?

I’ve considered this question quite a lot and go between an epic burger and fries or a Mediterranean veg bake style dish with goat’s cheese… divine. If we’re considering restaurant offerings, I think it would have to be a tandoori cauliflower dish I obsessed over in northern India followed by the prunes and mascarpone dessert from Etto… the combo makes no sense but they’re both so unreal that I don’t care.

What’s your go-to comfort food?

Perfectly toasted bread slathered in real butter.

What’s the go-to quick meal you cook when you’re tired and hungry?

Honestly a sandwich… breakfast lunch or dinner, a really good sandwich is super quick with minimal cleanup and always hits the spot.

What is one food or flavour you cannot stand?

Genuinely none. I used to be opposed to fruit mixed into meals but now I love cheese pineapple toasties. Used to detest chocolate and popcorn combined but now I totally get it.

Hangover cure?

Endless cups of milky tea, cans on full fat coke, flat drinks (Snapple being top tier) and loads of carbs.

Sweet or savoury?

Savoury for sure.

Fine dining or pub grub?

I’m happy once the food is great and there’s a good atmosphere. Just as happy in both settings.

Favourite restaurant in Ireland?

That’s such a hard question to answer definitively, but I adore Bigfan, Shouk, Rosa Madre, Chapter One and Etto in Dublin, Kai in Galway, Truffles in Kilkenny, Liberty Grill in Cork, Waterman in Belfast, Linnane’s Bar in Clare… I could go on!

Best coffee in Ireland?

Shoe Lane in Dublin do excellent coffee.

Go-to beverage accompaniment?

Those smoked almonds which are ridiculously addictive or a fine packet of cheese and onion Tayto… bag pulled fully open, of course.

What are your thoughts on the Irish foodie scene?

I think the Irish food scene is absolutely unbelievable; we have insanely talented chefs working with super creative teams and incredibly high quality local ingredients.

What does food — sitting down to a meal with friends, mindfully preparing a meal, nourishment, etc — mean to you?

Everything. It’s my favourite way to fall in love with someone new or to connect with those I already love dearly. I truly love lingering over a beautiful meal with special people, there’s nothing better.

Food for thought — Is there room for improvement within the Irish food/restaurant/hospitality scene?

I think there’s room for even more diversity; more Greek offerings, African fare, fusion spots, etc., but overall I’m super proud of what this island has to offer in terms of food and hospitality.

Chef’s kiss — Tell us about one standout foodie experience you’ve had recently.

Definitely the prunes and mascarpone dessert in Etto; the waiter chose it for me and I was blown away. I can’t even describe why it was so good, but eating it was a spiritual experience.

Compliments to the chef — Now’s your chance to sing the praises of a talented chef, beloved restaurant or particularly talented foodie family member.

Genuinely all the praise goes to my incredible mom and husband who’ve fed me 36 years of beautiful dishes eaten together with love and laughter. I’m endlessly grateful for their talents… especially because my meals would be terribly bleak if left to my own devices in the kitchen!

Secret ingredient — What, in your estimation, makes the perfect dining experience?

Lingering over three courses then a fourth cheese course later in the night. Start with a whiskey cocktail, delicious red wine throughout the meal and perhaps an impromptu order for a bottle of champagne mid-main… something my bestie Cathal has become fond of doing during meals which makes for a fun addition! Good, low music (jazz works well) and ambient lighting… you have to set that vibe! The food is so important but the overall energy is equally important for the night to be a raging success.

For more quality food, lifestyle and experiential recommendations, visit I Come Undone’s website, her Experience Planner website, or follow Sarah on socials to keep abreast of all the new openings and must-see spots.