Dine like lords and ladies just for one night
There are some very special places to have dinner in the turkey and ham season
The Constitution Room at The Shelbourne hotel
Private dining at 25 Fitzwilliam Place
Clifton House, Belfast
You have had an enjoyable night with friends eating forgettable food and shouting over the din of a packed restaurant. There have been lengthy lulls between courses. At the end of the evening, a crowd in Christmas jumpers begins to murder Oh Holy Night. Someone at your table divvies up the bill on their phone.
Oh Holy fright, it comes to €70 or €80 a head.
Cramming in with the madding crowd is one of the joys of eating out in party season. But how about dinner in a private dining room where you have the place all to yourselves? We have found some special rooms, a few of them in unexpected venues, from candlelit country houses to a modern art gallery, an enormous table in a former convent boarding school, a Georgian townhouse, an Asian karaoke bar, or the boardroom of a former poor house.
Throwing a bespoke gathering like a bunch of trust fund luvvies from the 1990s movie Peter’s Friends isn’t cheap – nor is it as expensive as you might think. And the value outside Dublin will knock your Christmas socks off.
The Constitution Room at
The Shelbourne Hotel
The panto stage isn’t the only place you will find a footman in Dublin these days. (Oh no it isn’t). There are two white-gloved and waistcoated footmen who attend to diners in the Shelbourne’s Constitution Room, the smallest of the hotel’s private dining rooms.
The room was originally called simply Room 112 but was renamed the Constitution Room after it was used by the men who drafted the Constitution in 1922 (since replaced by the 1937 version). Ten people can sit around the same table and on the sturdy and comfortable chairs used by that Constitution committee.
A basic price of €85 per person covers the beautiful room with Vera Wang porcelain, flowers, silver candelabra and footmen. It also gets you the basic food package of canapes, a soup amuse bouche and three courses.
A drafter’s eye for detail is needed to figure out the final cost, however, as there’s a 15 per cent service charge bringing it up to €97.75 a head.
This will be the cost if you all plump for the “copper-roasted corn-fed chicken breast, broth of greens, bacon and spring onion” as a main course. A lamb main course will bring it up to €126.50 and a Lambay lobster main is the priciest at €165 a head. Finally, you will need to get a consensus from your committee of diners on the courses to avoid supplement charges for the dissenters.
The Shelbourne Hotel, St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, tel: 01-663 4500
No 25 Fitzwilliam Place
Another historical setting is the Georgian townhouse at No 25 Fitzwilliam Place. It’s owned and run by the same family that runs Brasserie Le Pont, the restaurant in its basement.