As we head into summer proper, it's exciting to see new ventures teaming great food with gorgeous Irish locations.
Dublin's allta is setting up a pop-up experience on the banks of the River Boyne, while Wicklow has a new food-focused destination with a big name attached.
Elsewhere, we have news of a meal box to grab for this weekend and if you're passing through Dublin 10 any time soon, a new coffee spot is offering sandwiches, cookies and a caffeine fix all without leaving your car.
Allta, the Dublin restaurant, is spreading its wings this summer with a pop-up allta summer house at Slane Castle in Co Meath. The large summer house is located in the boat house field just behind the castle and features bespoke furniture by Toby Hatchett, Boyne Valley wildflower roof installations, a bar, fire pit and views over the River Boyne. It will be open Thursdays to Sundays over the summer, offering a set table menu that focuses on sustainable ingredients and local Irish produce. Tables are limited to four, five or six and tickets are €95 per person available online at alltasummerhouse.ie.
Dublin 10 has a new drive-through coffee spot. Bump & Grind, which is open for walk-up customers too, opened its doors recently in Ballyfermot. It’s serving up an array of coffees, iced drinks and teas and has partnered with Hush Rathmines for a range of sandwiches and cookies. The menu includes a Take it Ham & Cheesy (grilled ham and cheese on sourdough bread) and Pull the Other One (pulled pork, spicy Asian slaw, rocket and mayo on sourdough) as well as daily specials - and did we mention the giant cookies? For more, follow them on Instagram.
The great escape
Wicklow has a new food-focused destination. Founder Lisa Wilkinson has transformed her former business The Elbowroom Escape into The Wicklow Escape, a luxury destination in Donard, which is about an hour from Dublin. Danni Barry, who earned a Michelin Star while working at Michael Deane’s Eipic in Belfast, is on board as executive chef while Jill Robins, formerly of Powerscourt Estate is operations manager. Food is the focus here (as much as the beautiful Wicklow scenery) and Barry’s menus will feature the best of local and seasonal ingredients. Two-day summer staycations packages start from €543 per person sharing. Check-in is on Wednesdays and Fridays only, and capacity is limited to 18. See thewicklowescape.com for more.
Surf and turf
If you missed out on the Juniors Deli & Café smokehouse surf and turf meal box last week, good news: it’s available this Friday and Saturday too. It serves four people and comes fully prepped, with instructions on how to assemble at home. There’s a tear and share smoked Gubbeen cheese bread and smoked almonds to start. The surf is prawn pil pil for four while the turf comprises four 6oz fillet steaks. Sides are twice-baked loaded potatoes and smoked chipotle beans and for dessert, there’s Madagascan vanilla and coconut panna cotta. Priced at €140, it’s available to order here for collection from the restaurant in Beggars Bush, Dublin (you can pick up wines and beers while you’re there too).