The Pass: Sean Smith – Cliff Townhouse

Posted 6 months ago in Food & Drink Features

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“My favourite trick is just keep it simple and seasonal.” We go behind the Pass with Sean Smith, Cliff Townhouse.



Salt. It’s such a versatile ingredient to cook with – you can cure, preserve, marinate, season, adjust the dish and add flavour.



This changes all the time for me depending on the weather and the season. I like to work with and eat ingredients while they are really fresh and in season, and cook or prepare them really simply to let their natural flavours speak for themselves.

I enjoy flavours that match the season; strawberries, lobster salad or gazpacho in the summer, heavier meat dishes or a comforting fish pie in the winter.


Trick of the trade

I’m a big fan of classical cookery, and my favourite trick is just keep it simple and seasonal.


Food memory

I remember my grandmother making treacle bread or soda bread. She never referred to a recipe, all she did was a handful of this and handful of that and it always turned out great.



Nothing. People have opinions, you might like something and I might not.


Trend worth noting

Sunday lunch. We’ve been one of the only places that continued to do a great Sunday lunch over the last few years, but I’m delighted to see that more and more restaurants around the city are bringing back Sunday lunch. Brunch just can’t compare to a great Sunday roast dinner cooked to perfection. It is so much more appealing to me than an Eggs Benedict or smashed avocado brunch. A Sunday roast has to be cooked right, though – steer away from the carvery. We serve a roast rib of beef from a trolley every Sunday, so it’s carved table-side giving a nice bit of theatre to guests also.

Seafood restaurants are another trend. When we started as a seafood restaurant, we were one of the only ones, which is very odd when you consider we are an island nation surrounded by fantastic fish and seafood. It’s great to see the popularity of seafood increase among Irish people.


Best meal

I’m lucky that I don’t have to travel too far from my home to get a great meal – I really enjoy Joe’s cooking in TwoCooks in Sallins. I like the way Joe cooks and I often visit Canteen Restaurant in Celbridge too, both are close to where I live. Martijn Kajuiter, Cliff Director of Food & Beverage always inspires me too with his dishes.



Ice cream. I like a Cornetto, Magnum, Homemade ice-cream, all of them!


Instagram account

Northwest 200, road racing or Isle of Man TT Races, motorbike riding is my hobby.


Unlikely pairing 

Maple syrup and bacon ice cream


Utensil of choice 

Mine is a simple one that everyone has in their kitchen! A tablespoon, can’t cook without them.


Table for two

Somewhere easy and out of the city, I don’t like the hustle and bustle of the city in my off time. The Lifeboat Inn in Courtmacsherry, Co. Cork, a gastropub run by David and Martin, has great food and great views.


Afternoon Sea at Cliff Townhouse is served Wednesday to Sunday from midday until 3pm, and costs 40 per person or 55 to include a glass of Billecart-Salmon Brut.


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