Just across the road from the Dunraven Arms, this charming restaurant was established by well known chef Wade Murphy and his wife, Elaine, in 2013. Wade - recent Commissioner General of Euro-Toques Ireland and former head chef in several prestigious kitchens - opted to move away from fine dining when he opened his own restaurant, choosing instead the casual dining route in what he called “ a broadly gastropub style, but without being a pub!”.
In fact, the experience at 1826 Adare is very special, and might be better described as “fine dining without the fuss” - what you get from a classically trained chef of this calibre when he chooses informality is the same top notch cooking, but in a more relaxed style - and at a very accessible price.
The restaurant is in three rooms and has great charm, a lovely combination of the traditional themes that go with the territory in Adare - the old spinning wheel in an alcove, the black cast iron kettle beside the fire - and the stylishly simple modern.
Beautiful cinnamon brown linen curtains frame the pretty cottage windows and, washed by lovely warm (and, surprisingly, eco-friendly) lighting, white painted walls provide the perfect backdrop for quiet furnishings - bare darkwood tables sporting country check napkins, a mixture of classic mahogany and traditional sugan chairs that are painted a very contemporary lilac grey - and strong modern artwork that brings welcome splashes of colour.
A big blackboard announces the daily specials and the semi open kitchen adds interest for some tables, too. It’s a confidently pleasing, relaxing setting for the enjoyment of good food - and very comfortable too, which is rare enough in today’s restaurants to merit comment.
As would be expected of a Euro-Toques chef, valued suppliers are detailed on menus and many are name checked on dishes too, with starters featuring Doughmore Bay crab from Doonbeg fisherman Charlie Sexton, for example - and, trawling a little further afield, the very successful Young Buck blue cheese from Northern Ireland features in a handsome pear and chicory salad with pickled walnuts.
Dry-aged rib-eye steaks, Kerry Hill lamb and free range pork are staples among the main courses, which also feature exceptional poultry - pasture reared chicken from The Friendly Farmer of Athenry, for example, and Skeaghanore duck, from West Cork - superb fresh fish and seafood and specially created vegetarian tasting platters.
Menus change with the seasons and there’s a sense of continual introduction of new dishes, but there are house specials too and many regulars would travel especially to enjoy the masterful house fish pie - a selection of the best fish and seafood with white wine velouté, topped with 75ºC egg and a herb & cheese crumb - or a beautiful spring dessert of grenadine poached rhubarb with brown sugar meringues, lemon curd and Chantilly cream…
A well chosen and informative drinks list includes a good sprinkling of Irish names across spirits, beers and cider, and some wines are offered in several sizes.
Service, under Elaine’s direction, is all that it should be - warm, friendly and efficient - and, as planned from the outset, prices remain extremely reasonable for the outstanding cooking and attention to detail that is the norm here, especially on the Value Menus.
Finish with a cup of the local rocket fuel - Ponaire coffee from Limerick - and the world will do you no wrong.