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A Secret Restaurant in Wicklow

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There’s been lots of talk recently about underground restaurants: in various papers, we wrote about them here before, and when Peter was interviewed on Ryan Tubridy’s show on RTE, one of his fellow guests was an amateur chef who has run a restaurant from her own flat.  As Peter said in the previous post, they’re a lovely idea but where does one track them down?  Turns out, if your friends Riaz and Oisin have a friend who goes out with a chef who runs a secret restaurant in Wicklow, you can go along with them when they book a table. At least that’s what happened to me. Yay!

Last Friday, five of us trekked out to deepest Wicklow to eat in an ‘underground’ restaurant there.  It was quite a hefty drive, which really added to the feeling of occasion around the whole event. On arriving we saw that the restaurant was situated in the most beautiful country house you could imagine, with friendly dogs running about and a bowl of punch on the sideboard.  The dining room was cosy and lovely, with seating for about thirty or forty people, candles and flowers on the tables and a musician playing gentle classical guitar.

The menu was a set menu with four courses, and nearly all ingredients were locally grown or caught.  We got a simple, creamy and delicious Butternut Squash Soup to start.  For the second starter we were offered a choice of Cured Irish Sea Mackerel or a Kohlrabi and Lychee Salad.  I had the Mackerel, which was flavoursome and lovely, and came in an excellent sauce with plenty of horseradish (mmm).  There was some swapping of starters, and the salad was excellent too, with fresh, light and tangy ingredients.

This course was followed by the best lemon sorbet I’ve ever tasted (to clear our palettes of course), and then the mains.  The choice was Wicklow Pheasant in a Port, Cream and Wild Mushroom Sauce, or Pasta with a Ginger, Courgette and Red Pepper Sauce.  Everyone at our table opted for the Pheasant, and it seemed to be the popular choice across the room.  It came with a creamy mash and perfectly cooked Brussels sprouts.    The pheasant brought much joy to our table, and when the chefs came around with a big pot offering seconds, we all forced down some more.  The one slightly disappointing note of the entire meal was the dessert of Quince and Hazelnut Cake – it was like a slightly underwhelming apple tart.  To be fair, I was incredibly full of delicious food at that point, and all traces of appetite had desserted me.

So it was a tremendous feed, all in, and in a really warm and lovely atmosphere as well.  After the food was finished, the chef came out to make a shy speech of thanks, and then people started singing (and playing with the puppy).  It was at least 3am before we dragged ourselves away.    All this wonderful food in the gorgeous atmosphere cost us only €35 each: incredible value. As there is no alcohol license, we brought our own wine, which got us a great saving on the usual price of eating out.  If all secret restaurants are like this one…more please.

This secret restaurant is open once a month, and the organisers say that they want it to spread by word of mouth rather than through organised publicity.  So I can’t put the location or contact details here, but am willing to accept bribes at the usual address.  Shhhh…

5 Comments

  1. I have been there too, in the last September Wicklow Secret meal.
    I was amazed by the idea, the location and the great menu, all fresh, local and seasonal.
    I must admit that when I entered the place I felt like Tom Cruise in Eyes Wide Shut… I didn’t know anybody and got there by chance without knowing what to expect. A friend sent me there because she knew how found of food I am.
    I wonder if they do something for New Year’s Eve.
    i have the contact email somewhere… They passed it on to everybody that night.
    Federica

  2. I have been looking online for ages and asking people about secret restaurants but have had no joy in finding out about any. I always read about them afterwards. The whole concept sounds amazing and people are always raving about the food and the great atmosphere.

    Could anyone could tell me how to go about finding out about one?

    Angie

  3. Hi
    I cant get Outlook working on my computer so cant see what the ‘usual address’ is referred to in the first post to find out where the restaurant referred to is located. Can somebody please let me know on deefour@hotmail.com?
    Thanks

  4. Sounds like a wonderful night out. How would I find out about the next one?

    Nuala

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