Last week, on the last sunny day of the lovely weather we were having, Michelle and myself took to The Shelbourne Hotel for their Private Dining Showcase.
Held in the Constitution Room overlooking Stephen’s Green the evening was like nothing I’ve ever experienced. They say that “luxury knows no bounds at The Shelbourne Dublin” and it’s definitely true! Both the Constitution Room and the hotel itself are iconic places steeped with history and stories to be told.
We were greeted with champagne and canapés on arrival while Garry Hughes, the hotel’s executive chef told us about his work at the hotel and what inspires his menus (the flora of Stephen’s Green are the inspiration for the current afternoon tea in the hotel!).
He mentioned that the salmon on our canapés was smoked in house and that they open 100,000 oysters in the hotel each year.
Later we were brought through to the Constitution Room, named so as the Irish constitution was drafted in the room in 1922 – Michael Collins’ name is even mounted onto one of the chairs there! Here Garry returned to take us through the menu for the evening, a seasonal menu of locally sourced ingredients with carefully selected wine to compliment the dishes by their in house sommelier.
Coming from a wine background myself I was familiar with one of the wines, Greywhacke – a New Zealand Pinot Gris from the south island region of Marlborough. I was also really impressed with the red wine, Delas Frères Ventous from the Rhone region of France. Made with both Grenache & Syrah grapes, it was a beautiful accompaniment to the lamb. It was so good, I’m still thinking about this wine a week later!
We found out that our underplates and cutlery for the evening were one of a kind Vera Wang, something that one of the employees didn’t know until Michelle pointed out that the design matched the one on the menus!
We began our meal with a Snow Pea Soup with a hint of mint. It was something I wouldn’t chose for myself when ordering at a restaurant, but really surprised me as it was fabulous! Following the soup was a Lambay Lobster Thermidor to die for, definitely mine and Michelle’s favourite course of the evening!
For mains we were treated to Curragh Lamb with gratin potatoes and vegetables. The chef Garry is a Kildare man himself and personally knows the farmer where the meat was coming from, something that’s very important to him when sourcing ingredients for his menus!
Finally for dessert I had an amazing Chocolate and Raspberry Mousse while Michelle, who’s a coeliac, enjoyed a beautiful Pineapple Carpaccio. I thought it was great that while Michelle had different dietary requirements, her menu barely differed from my own; she was well looked after throughout the meal!
Between our main course and dessert, the hotels own historian Denis O’Brien came in to talk about the historical and iconic “Old Lady”. First bought in 1824 by Martin Burke for 1,000 pounds the building has such an amazing history full of stories that we may never even know! Denis was a fantastic storyteller, he captured the whole room and both myself and Michelle could have listened to him tell the secret stories of the hotel for hours!
We learned that The Shelbourne was a building where many firsts occurred. It was the first building in Ireland to be lit by gas, in 1881 it was the first to be lit by electricity and in 1906 it was the first to have a lift shaft!
The building also played a part in 1916 where the hotel housed the senior staff of the British Military along with the Lords and Lady’s in Dublin. It was then used as a base for the British on the 24th of April where they would use the windows to shoot out at the Irish Citizen Army who had taken Stephen’s Green.
From then the Shelbourne went from housing the British army to housing the rich and famous. Grace Kelly, the Kennedy’s, Laurel & Hardy, Mrs. Obama and Michael Bublé are just a short list of the many famous people who have stayed at the iconic hotel and have brought more character to the place through their amazing stories during their stay!
Denis said that the staff were “carrying the baton for future generations of the hotel” and you really got the impression that they were, they were absolutely excellent throughout the evening!
Industry evenings like this are really important to me as I get to make contact with the managers running the hotel but also experience what there is to offer there. I find it’s so much easier to sell a venue to a client when you’ve experienced it yourself and you believe it’s the best option for them!
Written by: Sarah Morrissey Davis Events Agency