We tour Ireland with chef Niall Davidson and the BMW iX3 to find the best local ingredients to put on the menu of his restaurant, Allta.

We tour Ireland with chef Niall Davidson and the BMW iX3 to find the best local ingredients to put on the menu of his restaurant, Allta.

When Niall Davidson opened his Dublin restaurant Allta in 2019, he wanted to ensure sustainability was at the heart of the menu and as a result, Niall has vowed to only use locally-sourced ingredients from local suppliers. That does put a limit on what Niall can use in his signature dishes, but rather than see it as a problem, he sees it more as a challenge: “When you put barriers on where you can get stuff from and what you can use, that definitely helps with creativity,” Niall explained to us earlier this year. It also means that Allta’s menu changes throughout the seasons, in the process garnering ever-more rave reviews for this chef and his restaurant.

To see how Niall’s sustainable philosophy is working out, we join him on a road trip across Ireland in the all-electric BMW iX3 to visit the regional suppliers that have helped him create one of the leading dining experiences in Dublin. In this instalment, we head south to Cork and then west to Kerry in a quest for locally-sourced produce.


Glenmar Shellfish is one of Niall’s larger suppliers. It runs trawler and day boats off the coast of West Cork from the picturesque deep-sea harbour village of Union Hall, some 75 kilometres south of Cork city on the stunning county coast. “Fishing is notoriously an unsustainable practice,” explains Niall. “But the fishermen at Union Hall focus on day boats and smaller craft that can come closer to the coast to catch lobster and crabs.”

It’s not only the fishing that’s sustainable at Union Hall, Niall tells us. “There’s also a net repair service there. We met an old guy that had been repairing fishing nets for nearly 40 years. I found this great as in such a throwaway economy these single-use plastics nets were being constantly repaired instead of being disposed of.” Of course, BMW has its own angle on this kind of sustainability, with new models incorporating recycled sea plastics, including fishing nets, within its car interiors.


For our next port of call, we’re heading two hours west on the North Atlantic coast, where another supplier is located. With the zero-emissions BMW iX3 taking the strain and delivering plenty of cruising comfort on the country roads and main routes through the Cork and Kerry mountains, it’s no hardship, though.

Were heading to Cromane, the small town nestled on the edge of Castlemaine Harbour, which is the home of Cromane Bay Shellfish, one of Niall’s longest-running suppliers. “When I first moved to Dublin in 2019, I cold-called [Cromane Bay proprietor] Pattie O’Sullivan because I heard his oysters were the best. Since then he has supplied me directly, and his oysters really are the best in the world.

“Oysters are one of, if not the most, sustainable food sources,” Niall enthuses. “I like to think of them as the wildest type of farming. Pattie farms his oysters at the top of Cromane Bay where a large number of rivers flow into the estuary. This means that the oysters have a rich food source not only from the ocean but from the rivers all year. And by being high up in the estuary the salinity of the water is lower, so the oyster has a sweeter flavour. He turns them regularly on the oyster bed to make the teardrop shape dense with meat and totally naturally delicious. It’s incredibly closed-loop aquaculture.”


These locally-sourced ingredients have gone a long way to making Allta a leading light on the Dublin restaurant scene, but they’re not the only ingredient that is part of the mix. Around 50km west of Cromane is Ballinskelligs, which is the home of Fermoyle Pottery supplying Allta with its tableware. “I’ve been working with Stephen and Alexis since 2019 and they have created all our unique crockery pieces,” Niall explains. “Their studio is attached to their house amongst their sprawling and bountiful vegetable garden, and their pieces are really inspired by nature and their wild surroundings, using stones from the beach and shells to make unique markings and glazes made from loads of wild different materials found in their local area.

“They are true artisans of their craft, completely sustainable in their approach to their pottery and work as much as possible on an ethos of closed-loop production. This made me think they could be great to highlight in a piece about the suppliers and makers of Allta.”

With ingredients and so much more being sourced on a local, but also sustainable level, Allta really is a fantastic partner to BMW as it looks towards the future.

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