Here are some of our favourite places for outdoor autumnal dining…
F Scott Fitzgerald said, “Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall” and September, with all its hope and vigour, can be a wonderful month to dine out in Ireland. Taking the calculated risk of dining al fresco during September will reward you with a front row seat to the changing seasons. Think crisp air, cosy blankets and pretty fairy lights, without the frigid air of winter. Here are some of our favourite places for autumnal dining…
There are so many passionate people in the restaurant industry but it would be difficult to top the enthusiasm displayed by the staff at KINARA KITCHEN in Ranelagh where the roof terrace is a very pleasant place to spend an afternoon grazing from the bar menu – lamb fritters with raita alone are worth visiting for but do try the scallops with cauliflower and coconut purée. Maître d’ Talha Pasha’s own favourite is chilli chicken. Behind the bar, Andrei is something of a cocktail wizard. whipping up the “Adonis” with cream sherry, sweet red vermouth and his signature touch, a splash of red wine, finished with a curly strip of lemon peel. It’s very, very good. www.kinarakitchen.ie.
There are few places as buzzy as Dun Laoghaire on a sunny evening and the terrace at OLIVETO in Haddington House with its gorgeous view of Dublin Bay, is the place to be as the sun sets. It’s a happy coincidence that the food is excellent, the wine fairly priced and cocktails from the adjoining Parlour Bar as good as it gets. Osso bucco risotto was a revelation and squid ink pasta with crab and Amalfi lemon was sunshine on a spoon. Dine inside or outside on the terrace. (Since our visit to Oliveto, the sad news was announced of the death of talented executive head chef Barry O’Neill.) www.haddingtonhouse.ie/italian-heart-oliveto.com.
Autumn dining needn’t be complicated and GOATS GRUFF AT THE STRAWBERRY HALL keeps it simple with pizza or bust. Very good pizza. On the steep banks of the Liffey, The Strawberry Beds come September are bathed in autumn’s copper-coloured light. A safari-style tent strung with fairy lights protects against the elements. Cold beer, hot pizza, rushing water and birdsong. That is all. www.goatsgruffdublin.com.
September is the last chance to enjoy the summer menu at THE INTERCONTINENTAL’S GARDEN TERRACE. A crayfish croissant with freshwater lobster and fries is the best way to spend €18. www.intercontinentaldublin.ie.
The Red Bank Restaurant in Carrick-on-Shannon recently opened a smart new outdoor dining area, perfect for a pitstop along the Shannon. THE SECRET GARDEN is fully heated and sheltered from the elements and has its own bar. An enormous cherry blossom tree with 14,000 lights is a sight to behold and the menu features hyper-local suppliers. www.theredbankrestaurant.ie.
In other news, Blackrock in Co Dublin is the location for an all-new Michael’s from chef Gaz Smith, a larger affair than the much-loved Michael’s in Mount Merrion. Expect the same quality steaks, seafood, cocktails and wines, Smith tells us, as well as a smart outdoor dining area.
The Galway International Oyster and Seafood Festival (September 23-25) features a gala evening on September 24 – bubbles and oysters, and a three-course seafood supper. www.galwayoysterfestival.com.