French/Modern Irish. Moor Lane, Cashel. Co. Tipperary, Ireland
Phone (062) 61177 „
20+ years ago (God, doesn’t time fly!), I was living and working on Co. Tipperary. This was not the best of times in the food department. I remember a happy afternoon spent searching for black pepper in Clonmel with absolutely no success whatsoever... But, for reasons best left unexplained, I was invited to dinner on night by an American and his Danish wife to a restaurant in Cashel called “Chez Hans”. I admit, I thought the place was probably called “Sheehan’s”, made more exotic by the accents of the people involved, but I was wrong. We arrived in Cashel and just at the foot of the famous rock, in Moor lane, I found myself outside a church - "Chez Hans". Strange, I thought, but on entering I found myself in a restaurant to die for. I am told that the owner, Hans Peter Matthiae, started business there 30 years ago – and what a business it is! Now, it wasn't cheap and, at that time, the menu was a fixed-price affair. Being a ‘fussy’ eater, I normally avoid these places like the plague, but this place was a revelation! Suffice it to say that I still remember that meal; my fellow diner eating a starter of half a melon as a vegetable, complete with salt and pepper; my main course of Duck a l’Orange which remains the comparator for all subsequent Duck; the engraved Waterford Crystal wineglasses which were just too OTT for a place open to the public! Ten years later and living in London, my cousin from America visited with his partner – with the intention of touring Ireland. I had married shortly before and so it seemed an ideal opportunity to introduce my new wife to the Isle of saints and scholars. Now, don’t get me wrong, I must REALLY have liked this place because my wife, my cousin AND his partner all knew of my dream restaurant in Co Tipperary - sure enough, we booked dinner. Can you imagine, it’s ten years since I ate there. Ten years spent telli
ng people how good it was. What if it had changed? What if it had become Cashel’s answer to KFC?!! Well, it hadn’t and it wasn’t. Ten years later, my wife still remembers that meal …. And believe me she’s not easy to please in the restaurant department! I’ve not been back since …. but my ten years are up, so it’s time to try again! I hear that Hans’ son has taken up the reins, but if anything it’s reputation has grown and people travel far to sample the delights of ‘French styling sharpened by a fondness for strong flavours and seasonings and a sturdy grasp of how to utilise Irish ingredients to present them at their best.’ So I guess it’s even more important to book your table now than it ever was. Who knows, maybe they won’t let me back in ……. But I hope so!!