Doolin restaurant

*Photograph: John Mangan

DOOLIN restaurant Homestead Cottage has been awarded its first Michelin Star – just seven months after opening its doors.

Established late last June, the accolade marks a remarkable rise for the husband-and-wife team of Robbie and Sophie McCauley, who received an astonishing 400 bookings within a day of receiving their award.

Robbie explained that Homestead Cottage received an invite to the prestigious award ceremony in recent weeks which preceded “a few sleepless nights” for the Scottish-born chef.

On Monday the unique eatery – which prides itself on using local ingredients – was announced as one of just three Irish restaurants to become new recipients of the much-coveted award.

“We’re still coming down … it’s been fantastic,” Robbie told The Clare Echo. “To get it so quickly made it more of a surprise and we’re delighted to everyone.”

Some 400 bookings came in on Tuesday following the remarkable win, from destinations including South Africa, Barbados and the UK. “We’re lucky where we are, we’re the closest restaurant to the Cliffs of Moher so to be able to have a restaurant and serving the kind of food we’re doing so close to an international attraction is helpful.”

Robbie admits he has plans to bring his team to London “to say thank you” to his staff as they celebrate the award together.

“It’s a massive award and I feel very lucky to have been awarded it,” said Robbie. “I’ve been cooking for 17-18 years, I worked in Michelin star restaurants before but to actually do it for ourselves is huge. We’re only able to do it thanks to the fantastic produce and at the end of the day it’s a team achievement.”

Michelin Guide inspectors described Homestead Cottage as “surely the most rural of the newly anointed Stars”.

“Homestead Cottage in Doolin is a thoroughly charming place. Its setting inside a former crofter’s cottage provides plenty of character, and dishes are often brought to the table by Robbie and his fellow chefs with palpable pride. Garden produce and local ingredients like Aran monkfish are used in cooking that demonstrates refinement, precision and a great understanding of balance.”

Homestead Cottage joins Wild Honey Inn in County Clare’s Michelin star ranks and Robbie hopes the win will encourage more tourism for the Banner County.

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Subscribe for just €3 per month

If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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