Glas Restaurant recently announced that it is opening GlasDeli, a delightful new venture in Ranelagh. Located at 36 Dunville Avenue, Ranelagh the deli will be offering delicious Glas vegan and vegetarian dishes to enjoy at home, as well as a range of other artisan produce from some great suppliers. Meanwhile, their weekend click and collect menus are now live on their website.
As they work on getting it open as soon as they can, we revisit our interview with owner Paul Rooney from last Autumn, when he talked to us about culinary creativity, delicious vegetarian food and great teamwork at Glas.
Paul, you first opened Glas Restaurant on Chatham Street in October 2019. Tell us a bit about your background and how you got involved in the restaurant business.
I’ve been in the business in one way or another for the last twenty years, opening and closing all kinds of restaurants. I started off running clubs and special events, and then as I got too old for clubs and found myself eating out more often, I just progressed to restaurants. I’ve had my own places and run businesses with partners and for other people. There wasn’t really a strategy, it just sort of happened.
I noticed how mainstream vegetarian food was becoming over the last five years and felt the time could be right to try it. I had been planning on opening a vegetarian/vegan place for over a year and then an opportunity came up for this premises last June so we took it. I have a great business partner in Dualta Woods and what we wanted to achieve with Glas was first and foremost a restaurant, one serving vegetarian food, but a proper restaurant. I hope we have achieved that.
You describe vegetables as ‘the unsung heroes of Irish food’. Talk to us about the innovative philosophy and inspiration behind the dishes on offer at Glas. How do you source your ingredients?
Our head chef, Malte Half, is the driving force behind our culinary creativity. He is all about flavours and seasonal produce. I know people say that sort of stuff all the time but in this case it is true. We try and change some aspects of the menu every month to six weeks and we trial new dishes as specials. We listen very carefully to customer and staff feedback to hone those dishes and try to perfect them.
Sometimes you devise a dish and realize you can’t consistently get the right quality produce and you have to scrap it and start again. But if you’re not consistent you’re going nowhere. So the quality of the produce dictates where we buy, and that means that we use as many different suppliers as possible, big and small.
A recent survey described Dublin as ‘the world’s vegan capital’. Does your experience bear that out?
I don’t know about that. I’m not vegan or vegetarian, so I’m not an authority on the subject, but I love the food and there certainly seems to be an appetite for it in the city. I also think people are much more conscious of what they consume, and we try to address that and give them the options they are looking for.
As we head into Autumn, what sort of innovations can we look forward to seeing on the menu at Glas? What’s your own favourite dish?
We hope to travel around the world and pick a week each month where we focus on the cuisine of a certain country and offer a special chef’s tasting menu of their best vegetarian and vegan dishes.
I’m having a ball trying new dishes every week, and my current favorite is a fabulous vegan dish – Crispy Radish Cake, Fennel Kimchi, Braised Bok Choy and XO Sauce. I’m the best fed non-vegetarian in town!
It’s a very challenging time for restauranteurs. How are you meeting those challenges and what kind of things do you think are needed to help the industry survive through the current Pandemic?
I know this is a cliché but the restaurant business is all about teamwork, and we have a great team. We are a small operation and everybody on our team has pitched in and stood up to the challenge. It is a very complicated situation; it is difficult to have one rule or guideline that is going to help the many different types of restaurants out there. I think the government needs to genuinely listen to the representative bodies and provide as much support as possible to get us through the next year.
Glas Restaurant 15/16 Chatham Street Dublin 2
Phone 01 672 4534
For updates on progress with GlasDeli keep an eye on their social media channels @glas_deli