BY JACKIE KEOGH
FRIENDS and fans of Kalbo’s have described Siobhan O’Callaghan, the owner of the award-winning café, as ‘a bit of a swan’ because she makes her demanding job and the effort of opening another restaurant look effortless.
Siobhan has won a number of national awards for the food she serves at her North St café in Skibbereen, but together with her husband, Anthony Boyle, her son Oisín, and her hard working team – especially Denise and Pamela – she has done something completely new at Uilleann, the West Cork Arts Centre.
‘Kalbo’s at Uillinn’ opened on Thursday, just in time for Easter. Siobhan said: ‘We didn’t stop once. It was busy all weekend, which is as good an opening as you could hope for.’
In the restaurant business, Siobhan usually gets all the plaudits, but behind every good woman, they say, is a good man. And what is remarkable about Anthony’s contribution to this new café – aside from the fantastic food he produces as part of the Thornhill Organic Farm – is that he and two carpenter mates did the rustic and rather fantastic tables in the restaurant and spacious courtyard.
In preparation for the first day, Siobhan got up at 4am to make a variety of freshly baked breads and cakes for the café, which will concentrate on serving soups, sandwiches made with Arbutus breads, salads and a range of confectionery, while the North Street restaurant will focus on Siobhan’s delicious and eclectic range of multicultural meals.
‘The plan,’ she said, ‘is to keep Kalbo’s at Uillinn as simple as possible.’ In the meantime, there are plans to temporarily close the North St restaurant after Easter to do a spot of refurbishing. ‘It needs it,’ she said. ‘It has been due a facelift for years.’
As for the new location, in the heart of the town, Siobhan said: ‘We are delighted to be part of the new arts centre development. It’s new. It’s exciting and it is good for the town.’