What’s On My Table

Calligrapher Sarah O’Dea, whose elegant penmanship is a luxury for place cards and menus, shares her favourite dining accoutrements.

The best tabletops in my opinion are at Gregans Castle Hotel in the Burren, Co. Clare. The full experience, from the setting to how the food is presented, is incredible. I recently ate at Le Café du Marché in London. The restaurant is down a little lane off Charterhouse Square, there’s beautiful food and a great atmosphere with live jazz in the background: heaven.



I always use tablecloths as it can change the whole look of a room and I enjoy swapping colours and patterns. I have some embroidered ones from my grandmother; you can't beat Irish linen either. Meanwhile, beautiful tableware by Roundstone Ceramics in Connemara is my go-to. It's a pottery studio run by a couple, Rose O'Toole and Séamus Laffan. I have their cups, bowls and jugs; each one is a slightly different shape and they have a great texture and feel.



Hosting now is about personalisation. I design a menu so there is a space at the top where I can write each guest name. It’s something people love as they will often take the menu home as a memento. This time of year, I love incorporating metallic inks, especially gold and copper, as they twinkle in the candlelight.