A revolution to your usual booking. Ciara McQuillan suggests five unusual dining experiences you need to try in Ireland this summer…
When it comes to dining out in 2021, we have so far been somewhat reliant on the fickle Irish weather – but that shouldn’t hamper our fun. The hospitality industry has given new meaning to the word ‘pivot’ and as a result, we are spoiled for choice with creative and unique dining options popping up across the board. Here are five that we can’t wait to try…
1. Allta Summer House
It has been quite some time since such a buzz surrounded a new dining concept but Dublin wine bar Allta has been setting tongues wagging since it first opened, so it comes as no real surprise. The dreamy Allta Summer House is located on the Boat House Field at Slane Castle, perched on the banks of the River Boyne. The event promises to fulfil all your summer dining dreams with a convivial dining experience cooked over fire that celebrates the very best of local producers. There will be a fully stocked bar for pre or post-dinner refreshments and a VIP taxi service to whisk you home, Cinderella-style when the evening has ended. For those who prefer to stay on and make a night of it, there are a limited number of rooms available to reserve within the Castle itself. The menu is an homage to all things seasonal, so expect damsons, sorrel, gooseberries and broad beans to name but a few. One word of advice, leave the heels at home. We all know what happened to Cinders…
2. The Chef Supper Club
With a catalogue of unique, one night only dining experiences, created by a wealth of culinary talent, The Chef Supper Club aims to ‘bring the restaurant home’ with a series of interactive meals with menus created by chefs but executed by you in the comfort of your own kitchen. Your chosen chef will take you through the prep in a step by step live broadcast that will (hopefully) result in an elegant meal for you and your guests to enjoy. Collaborators to choose from include ex Clanbrassil House head chef Grainne O’Keefe, who will walk you through dishes such as Leitrim Hill Goats Cheese agnolotti with caramelised onion broth, guanciale, tarragon oil and cheese crisp. Perhaps beef and Guinness brioche with oyster emulsion from Ciaran Sweeney of The Olde Glen Bar in Donegal is more to your taste. Either way, you can be guaranteed a seamless experience from start to finish. And your guests need never know. Prices start at €120 for a five-course tasting menu for two.
3. Back to Dine Pop Up
Temple Garner’s Back to Dine brought high-end dining at home to the masses with collaborations that included chefs and restaurants from New York (Frenchette), Galway (Aniar), London (Myrtle) and Dublin (Pichet & Bresson). Their next venture is a new seven-course menu popping up at Temple’s own restaurant, San Lorenzo’s, on George’s Street in Dublin. Dates are due to be confirmed in the coming days but we are assured it will be worth waiting for. The menu will be Italian themed with wine pairings curated by Wine Rover’s Cathryn Bell. The pop-up offering will be available to book to eat in while enjoying the full restaurant experience or take home if that is your preference. Watch this space.
Marcus O’Laoire of The Sambo Ambo fame is the brains behind Dinetown, a much needed inner-city food market at The Iveagh Market, Francis Street. The past few months have seen the venture go from strength to strength with new vendors popping up weekly. There are steak frites from Hanger, cannoli from Ciao Cannoli, pizza from Serious Dough, Ethiopian food from the critic’s darling, Gursha and Brazilian barbeque from Smok ‘n’ Shack to name but a few. Opening hours are Mon-Wed 11:30 – 4 pm and Thurs – Sun 11:30 – 9 pm. Our advice? Go early and go hungry.
5. Irawo Kitchen.
Irawo Kitchen founder Anita Arinze left behind a career in IT recruitment in 2018 to open Irawo Kitchen with the goal of introducing the people of Ireland to ‘Afro Fusion’ cookery. Anita and her team have recently launched new pop up supper clubs namely a ‘West African dining experience – a taste of the good life’. Popping up at Gilli Café, Marrowbone Lane in Harold’s Cross, these supper clubs promise to be a unique experience and an adventure into a culinary landscape that is so far undiscovered to many of us. Expect dishes such as jollof rice, pounded yams, and peppered snail. The cost of the ticket (€54.30) includes a three-course meal, a cocktail on arrival and a gift bag including treats and historical tidbits to learn more about the food you have enjoyed.