Are you bored with your usual haunt? Check out one of these recent openings and spice up your dining destinations
Main Image; Bramley, Abbeyleix
Stella Steakhouse, Dublin 6
So long Stella Diner, hello Stella Steakhouse. While I will mourn the passing of a diner where you could actually get American style diner dishes, I am always excited about a steakhouse. The sides you can usually procure at said steakhouses. At Stella Steakhouse, the beef will primarily be supplied by butcher extraordinaire, John Stone with daily chalkboard specials that aim to highlight a selection of cuts from abroad, including Australian wagyu, grass-fed beef from New Zealand, authentic Japanese wagyu, Uruguayan grain fed beef and prime cuts from Creekstone farm in Arkansas, USA. As for the sides, they look promising too with the green beans with blue cheese and cashews and the millionaire’s fries piquing my interest quite substantially. www.stellasteakhouse.ie
In Abbeyleix, Sam Moody, ex head chef at Ballyfin Demesne, and wife Emily, recently opened Bramley, a neighbourhood restaurant in a historic building on the main street. The menu at Bramley reads well, the appeal, for me, being in its simplicity and refinement and of course Sam uses the best of Irish produce and the local Laois larder. The €70 tasting menu seems outstanding value for 8 courses, and equally appealing is the lunchtime sausage roll with caraway salt and radishes. Dreamy stuff. www.bramleyabbeyleix.com
Jack at Pilgrims, Rosscarbery
In lovely Rosscarbery, the oft mourned Pilgrim’s Restaurant is now home to Jack at Pilgrim’s, a new venture in the same premises. Jack, in this case, is the chef and owner and the fifth generation of his family involved with seafood. He grew up in Cornwall in a family of smokers from Richmond, Yorkshire, London and Portsmouth and came to Ireland after working locally for a brief spell and falling in love with Rosscarbery. So far, all reports from Jack at Pilgrim’s have been good and the brunch menu has every base covered with the usual suspects making an appearance along with cheese and charcuterie plates, open sandwiches and some signature dishes such as seared local scallops with cauliflower puree, rocket and parmesan salad, preserved lemon dressing. Brunch is served daily with evening meals from Thursday – Sunday. www.jacksatpilgrimsrest.com
Daróg Wine Bar, Galway
The McMahon family appear to be taking over Galway’s culinary landscape with brothers JP (of Cava Bodega and Michelin starter Aniar) and Gerry (Il Vicolo) now joined by sister Edel and her husband Zsolt Lukács. The couple opened Daróg Wine Bar in Galway’s Dominick Street in July and Zsolt’s experience as sommelier in Aniar combined with Edel’s lengthy experience in restaurant design and marketing makes this new opening all the more intriguing. The kitchen is led by Hungarian chef Attila Galambos, a 3 time finalist in Euro Toques Ireland and former sous chef at Aniar. Expect a concise menu of small and larger plates and the grilled French toast with cheese custard and onion crumble in particular calls out to me. Oh, and there’s wine too. www.darogwinebar.com.
Elsewhere, in Blackrock, Ruchii has moved into new premises on George’s Avenue with a tempting new menu to boot while at Powerscourt Hotel in Enniskerry, The Sally Gap Bar and Brasserie has just opened after a refurbishment with John Stone steaks and a wealth of local produce appearing on the menu. www.powerscourthotel.com.