Liath Restaurant in Blackrock opens its doors this evening and is quite honestly one of the most highly anticipated restaurant openings this spring. Ok, let's be honest, it's the most anticipated opening!

Ever since Heron & Grey closed at the end of January, we've just had a flutter of posts on social media from Liath owner and chef Damien Grey, with renovation photos, a new brand and logo and some other teasers. Plus if you weren't quick off the mark when reservations opened for March and April, then, unfortunately, you have missed out, until then at least.

We caught up with Damien earlier this week to see how things were shaping up and any insights he could give us into what Liath Restaurant is going to be like... 

View this post on Instagram

Hello Friends, @liathrestaurant has taken over what was formerly known as the Heron & Grey instagram account and is now the official account for Liath (Le-ah) Restaurant. We look forward to continuing on the path #heronandgrey created and bringing you new ideas and a unique dining experience. Our website: www.liathrestaurant.com will be live on the 1st of January 2019. Reservations: Our first release of bookings will be on the 1st of February 2019 at 10am for the month of March via the link on our website. The team are very excited and can’t wait to show you what we have planned. Merry Christmas and we hope the new year is a prosperous one for everyone. #liathrestaurant #newbeginings #2019

A post shared by Liath Restaurant (@liathrestaurant) on

What is the vibe you're going for in Liath? 

"Liath is a representation of new Irish cuisine, meaning that we create new dishes based on using as much as we can grow in Ireland, but not ruling out using products from other countries."
"The room has been changed to give a more formal dining experience. We upgraded the facilities to allow us to progress and develop new dishes; it's very modern in the finishes, but yet, our delivery of our product will remain relaxed and fun."

Are the team excited to open? 

"The team are pumped to get back to it. We have built a custom-made kitchen and floor, which has taken nearly two years of discussion, drawings and meetings to become a reality and we plan to take our food and service up a level over time to create an even more dynamic experience for our guest."
"I'm very excited to get back to work. I have a lot of ideas that we couldn’t do at H&G because of space restriction and equipment and that has changed now!"

Will you be out in the restaurant as much as you were in H&G? 

"Absolutely, I enjoy meeting new people and talking about their meal with them. It's very important to hear what our guests have to say. They're very important to us and I believe that we need to interact with them on a one-to-one basis as it helps us become a better team, and it also helps us create new dishes for the future, by using the information they give us on what like to eat."

What can we expect to see on your first menu? 

"We will be using a lot produce from the forest, and dishes including pigeon, mackerel, eel, cabbage, and rhubarb."
"We spent six weeks that we had off recently to back catalogue all the work that was done in H&G. There were over 600 dishes that we created and we plan to use the very best of them as the seasons change for the next 24 months, of course, new dishes will be written in the meantime, but we have enough data for now."

Any new suppliers or producers that you are excited about working with? 

At the moment we are working with the same suppliers as before, but we never stop looking and researching for new products and produce. 
"We are going to serve Imbibe Coffee in Liath. I have been working with Imbibe for four years now, I trust their product, their ethos is genuine and they are an honest, small Irish business with deep values – something we respect a lot. We are planning some new ideas on how coffee could be delivered in a meal and I’m very excited about this research."

Damien Grey with The Cliff House Hotel's Executive Chef, Martijn Kajuiter, at the Michelin Guide 2018 ceremony in London.

Damien Grey with The Cliff House Hotel's Executive Chef, Martijn Kajuiter, at the Michelin Guide 2018 ceremony in London.

Is the goal for Liath to get two Michelin stars? 

"Do I want Liath to have two stars? That would be a lifetime achievement if it did get it. Most people say that getting a star isn’t the objective and they are 100% right. Our guests are our number one priority, but yes, we would love to get our star back, I not going to lie about it."
"It's something to work towards. We will cook and serve to a very high standard for our guest everyday, we use the very best ingredients and everyday we will improve. A Michelin star is important to us at Liath, the Guide has always been something I have regarded with great respect as a chef and I know the team also thinks the same way, but it is up to the Michelin inspectors to decide on whether we deserve such a prestigious accolade."  

What is your vision for Liath for the future? 

"I would like to see Liath become an Irish institution like Restaurant Patrick Guilbauds, Chapter One, Ox, The Tannery, Ballymaloe House, One Pico, and all the other great restaurants that this amazing country has to offer. Ireland is fast becoming renowned for amazing produce and I want Liath to be a part of it all the way."

EXCLUSIVE COMPETITION

We are so excited to announce that we are giving away dinner for two in Liath Restaurant in April! Massive thanks to Damien Grey who has kindly offered us this prize for one lucky FOOD&WINE reader. Not only that, but he will be donating the value of the meal to Women's Aid, a charity that he believes in and would like to support – and whom Imbibe Coffee also support by donating a percentage of their earnings to – who help women suffering from abuse and whose aim is to create a society which does not tolerate violence against women.

For details on the competition and to enter, click here