December 18, 2023

From heat and drought in California to soft rain in Cork living the Hillyard’s Irish dream!

The couple spent 30 years travelling the world....

Yes Chef
From heat and drought in California to soft rain in Cork living the Hillyard’s Irish dream!

Explaining why they left California, the couple said: “We were experiencing more droughts and forest fires. It was scary, and there was no political will to do anything about climate change. When Trump got in, the wheels really came off. “We felt like we needed to go somewhere where there was rain. We’ve been living here for three years now and really, it’s perpetual spring.”

The couple spent 30 years travelling the world before deciding Baltimore was the place for them. Why? Because in West Cork, they found a thriving culinary spirit reminiscent of the California of Alice Waters’ time. Back in the Seventies she started the farm-to-table movement and was a pioneer of Californian cuisine.

In Cork the Hillyard’s have found entrepreneurial farmers and fishermen who bring a bounty of fresh local meats, cheeses, dairy and vegetables to the table.

Together they found and bought The Algiers Inn and restored it with great flair and sensitivity to the wondrous Aladdin’s Cave of delights that it is today. There’s a lively buzz and an air of adventure that pulls you inside this colourful place - Moorish tiles, potted palms, wood- panelled carved screens, an opulent tiled bar, underlit counter and a beautiful outdoor garden room all make for a fabulous atmosphere.

Foodwise, it’s classic American diner meets Wild Atlantic Way coastal staples. Lots of old-style family favourites are on the menu. But here comes the stroke of genius. They have imported from California a whole range of tasty, flavourful and exotic dishes with a Mexi-Cali theme: including the best corn tacos their grateful customers have ever tasted.

Ann is The Algiers Inn’s food specialist, with Ballymaloe Cookery School training. She manages a team of talented chefs in the kitchen. And Bill manages front-of-house.

He has a passion for premium tequilas and mezcal, which gives the heavyweight cocktail list such oomph. Somehow this canny pair have pulled off an almost impossible magic trick - combining some of the world’s best dishes into one cohesive menu and creating a destination eatery for happy times.

“We asked our kitchen team to prepare foods they had only seen on TV! They had little idea of the recipes and techniques involved,” Ann Hillyard said. “But they have embraced the cuisine and have hit the ball out of the park as far as authenticity. We couldn’t be happier! “We are back after completing a sensitive renovation of our historic pub,” the Hillyards said. “Join us for great craic, tantalizing tacos, perfect pints and our magical cocktails! Relax inside by the fire or chill outside in our all-weather beer garden. Come see why The Algiers Inn is the best pub in West Cork!”