In the hottest new opening seen in the city this year, Orwell Road recently opened to rave reviews, as Marc and Conor Bereen’s intimate new twenty-four seater wowed diners in Rathgar with a stunning menu designed by Head Chef Dan Hannigan. The Michelin trained chef tells us that the buzzy new spot has its sights firmly set on creating a nice atmospheric neighbourhood space with great food and service that people will want to come back to again and again.
“Our food is based around getting the best local seasonal ingredients we can get our hands on, and treating them with as much love and respect we can. We have a simple rule where all we want is for our food to be delicious. Whether it’s fried chicken or turbot, everything we cook will be treated with the aim of letting each ingredient sing and showing respect to the incredible suppliers who put their lives into creating them.”
A first look at Hannigan’s debut menu at Orwell Road sees that ambition realised in spades, with a generous selection of dishes showcasing great produce from quality Irish food producers including Andarl, Ballymakenny Farm, and McLoughlins Butchers. An impressive snack offering sets the tone from the outset, treating diners to such eclectic delights as Mackerel Tart with Chilli Ponzu, Andarl Pork Croquette with Apple and Mustard, and Buttermilk Fried Lion’s Mane with Tarragon Emulsion.
The starter selection is similarly full of star turns, featuring delicious Dry Aged Beef Shortrib with Wild Garlic and Beef Fat Brioche alongside flavoursome Cais Na Tire Tortellini and Burnt Onion Broth. This abundance of choice carries through to the mains, where dishes include a lovely Dry Aged Halibut with Smoked Mussel and Roe Sauce, and meaty McLoughlin’s Cote de Boeuf to share, followed by a selection of seasonal desserts.
The majestic work of the kitchen is nicely complemented by an innovative wine menu featuring two dozen sustainable biodynamic beauties, selected by wine expert Brigid O’Hora. In giving customers at Orwell Road a chance to try something different, O’Hora says her picks are designed to match the food, offering great value from smaller, lesser known producers in regions such as Alicante, Sicily and Puglia.
In a savvy move, restaurateur Marc Bereen invited the enterprising oenophile to host a series of wine workshops for staff at Orwell Road and sister restaurant Charlotte Quay in the weeks before opening. With a knowledgeable front of house team more than happy to help guide customers in their choices, and the chef himself occasionally delivering a stunning array of dishes to the table, we suspect that repeat visits to this Rathgar stunner will be very much on the menu in the weeks and months ahead.