Tom Doorley's Review
Packie's is a gloriously informal restaurant that has been providing exceptional food for well over a decade. A perennial favourite is the Irish stew - so often borderline disgusting in lesser places and less skilful hands - which is said to outsell everything else. But not everything here is traditional Irish food: there are lots of Mediterranean influences, too. Kenmare may have grander, more formal and even more idiosyncratic places to eat, but Packie's combines great local raw materials, funky cooking and a great sense of hospitality. As a result it is a Kenmare legend among those who know their food.
Owner Maura O'Connell Foley established Kenmare's original first-class restaurant, the Lime Tree, but has since opted for a quieter life at this smaller, cozier venue. She's passed her chef's toque to Martin Hallissey, who continues her practice of using local organic produce whenever possible. Stone walls, fireplace, and floors are warmed up by colorful local paintings, and the buzz of expectation among the closely packed diners. The contemporary Irish menu may feature crab cakes with tartar sauce, or rack of lamb with rosemary and garlic gravy. Leave room for desserts, which include homemade praline ice cream and a memorable sticky toffee pudding.
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