Warren Gillen has a well-earned following in the South-East ,and many happy diners with fond memories of good meals past make a point of heading straight to this modest restaurant whenever they are in Wexford Town.
A long, narrow premises on several levels separated by a few steps, it's a simple little place with nothing wasted on the decor - green gingham style oil cloths on the tables (but good glassware and china) - and the focus very firmly on excellent food, pleasant, attentive service and good value.
Reception is friendly and prompt - Warren also greets his customers himself and later checks on them at each table, as has always been his way – and new arrivals immediately feel at home.
Warren is a great supporter of local and artisan producers; his short, interesting menus have a sense of place - and promise contemporary Irish food with a rustic tone.
A speciality of Tony Butler’s black pudding with apple purée and cabbage salad makes a particularly pleasing starter, and you will find dishes not often seen on other menus and inspired by tradition, such as grilled Doyle’s corned beef sandwich with onion relish, or liver & onions with grilled bacon & porter jus.
Fish cooking is deceptively simple in the hands of this accomplished chef and, whatever he is cooking – Meyler’s natural smoked haddock chowder, perhaps, or grilled hake with broccoli, salted almonds and orange butter sauce - his skill is in producing dishes that are richly layered with flavours yet always enhance the delicious seasonal (and, often, less expensive) ingredients he has so carefully selected, and never seeks to overpower.
This small restaurant is serving the best of contemporary Irish food prepared by a gifted chef who enthusiastically promotes local ingredients, and merits wider recognition.
With an outstanding kitchen backed up by well-informed and pleasant staff, and offering great value for money, the world will surely beat a path to his door.
Wine is supplied by Jim Neville of Wellingtonbridge, Co Wexford, whose brother has a vineyard in Langeudoc, Pat Neville Domaine Aonghusa. The list is quite short but very adequate.
L à la carte; D 3-course Set Menu €24. 7-course Tasting Menu, €50.