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Out to lunch

Sandra O’Connell looks at some of the dining options available for the remainder of our outdoor and indoor summer.

The Terrace at the Shelbourne, Dublin

The Terrace at the Shelbourne, Dublin


Secret gardens

This summer it’s all about outdoor dining, with lush spaces cropping up in unexpected places. Check out Saba’s Secret Garden in Baggot Street. The award-winning Thai and Vietnamese restaurant’s outdoor dining area can seat 40 guests with social distance guidelines in place. It’s also a funky space with a mix of Italian furniture, traditional church pews, festoon lighting and graffiti artwork by Subset, an artists’ collective. Saba is open for lunch six days a week – closed Mondays – from 12 noon, with a great menu including salads, 'caveman' paleo, curries, noodles, and wok dishes for around €16.

The Alex Hotel on Fenian Street, part of the O’Callaghan Collection, has a Secret Garden too, an outdoor terrace with a fittingly floral design and food served all day. Keep it light with a range of club, steak, toasted or vegan sandwiches, or go for mains that include cod and chips, steak or a Piri Piri turkey burger (€17).

The Shelbourne’s Secret Garden – aka The Terrace – is a relaxed spot with an equally laid-back menu – burgers, fish and chips and a croque monsieur all around €20. It’s also out in the open but still sheltered from the elements, making it the perfect recipe for summer 2021.

Sun in the city

Dyflin Garden at the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel in Dublin 8
Dyflin Garden at the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel in Dublin 8

The Dyflin Garden at Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, on Golden Lane, Dublin 8, bills itself somewhat optimistically, as a “secret suntrap”. First opened last year, it looks set to reopen in August for late lunches (from 3pm) on weekdays, with a menu that last year included a good range of upmarket sandwiches and tasty mains including tasty curry, gourmet burgers, and smart fish and chips.

Out of towners

It can’t all be video calls so if you’re looking to meet in person and happy to travel, check out The Heritage Hotel in Killenard, Co. Laois. The hotel is opening a new and spacious 60-seater outdoor dining Terrace this summer, serving lunch and dinner. It has views of the golf course and is open from all sides, with a retractable roof, plus gas heaters, so you’re set whatever the weather.

The Cliff at Lyons has a new outdoor dining garden behind its new Mill Restaurant.  A sample lunch menu includes starters such as chicken terrine, cured salmon or heirloom salad, with mains such as Warrenpoint cod, pork ribs or vegetarian pappardelle – extra wide pasta ribbons – with menus costing €32 for two courses, €38 for three, available mid-week.

It’s a big summer at Carton House too, which is unveiling a two year, multi-million euro refurbishment. Now a swish Fairmont Hotels property, see for yourself what the builders have done with a quick visit to The Deck at The Carriage House at Carton House. If that’s not mouthful enough for you there’s a full menu at the new restaurant, which includes outdoor dining to the rear with great parkland views.

Diners in a pickle

Lovers of north Indian chef Sunil Ghai’s restaurant Pickle on Camden Street – and they are legion - may have to wait for it to reopen for lunch, but in the can get their fix on his fare by booking an outdoor table at sister restaurant Street, in Clonskeagh, or making a dash for a top notch takeaway at Tiffin by Sunil, his award winning neighbourhood restaurant in Greystones, Wicklow.

Gourmet grub

Toques off to the Gourmet Food Parlour, which was quick off the mark to offer outdoor dining options at its restaurants in Dun Laoghaire, Malahide, Swords, Santry and Skerries. All the crowd pleasers here, such as all-day breakfasts that offer everything from from pancakes, to full Irish, to eggs benedict with chicken; lunches – including pan-fried salmon, chicken and chorizo linguine and Thai sweet potato and red pepper curry - are all under €20, while a super filling superfood salad costs €13. Enjoy a packed charcuterie board for €15 - or go large with a bigger one for €28. There’s a full range of gourmet wraps and sandwiches too - almost all €9 - with gluten free bread available on request.